Reactions: Male-free shuttle mission proposal?

Linnea Ista lkista at
Tue Apr 13 18:38:06 EST 1999

> > I do not understand the logic that when we get consideration of
> > our gender in a positive way, that we are somehow "demeaned". 
> The question is "Is having a shuttle with an all-female crew, for the
> sole purpose of having a shuttle mission with an all female crew, a
> good thing?"
No different than sending John Glenn back out to space for the purpose of
sending John Glenn  back out to space. Was THAT demeaning to John Glenn?

It was a publicity stunt both for NASA and (bless my cynical little heart)
Senator Glenn. No one wondered whether he were being demeaned by the whole

The only thing I am really worried about on the all female mission is how
it will be covered. It could be covered, as someone said, "Girls in Space"
as if it were an episode of Sailor Moon. Or as a serious mission that
happens to be all female that just MIGHT inspire some real girls (i.e.
under the age of majority) to consider doing the math and science that
would allow them to become astronauts. 

This is something near and dear to my heart. My first life's ambition was
to be a pilot, and then after the moon landing, an astronaut. I saw no one
who looked "like me" doing it and so I believed the jerks who told me that
this is just not the sort of things that "girls" do and if I really wanted
to fly I should set my sights on being a stewardess. Or if I really wanted
to do science I should be a nurse. I would have been bouncing for joy at
the age of 10 if I had seen women go off into space, regardless of what
politics the adults were engaged in to get them there.  Someplace there is
most likely to be a 4 year old little girl who runs around her back yard
with her model airplane, and has airplanes on her lunchbox, backpack, and
every notebook she can get, who is going to get the idea that she, too,
can fly, she CAN go off into outerspace if she wants to. And she is going
to do it, and she is going to PILOT a shuttle some day. 

I was thrilled when Sally Ride first took off. I mourned when Judith
Resnik died in the Challenger explosion ( I had been following her career
ever since I went to see an exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota on
Women Astronauts in which she was featured).  You can bet that if they
find microbial life on one of Jupiters moons I am going to wish I could be
the microbiologist who gets to go.  And I hope that 10 year old watching
the current all women flight is ready to take me.


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