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Tag: astronauts
  • Wally Funk made history as the oldest person to ever travel to space!

    In the 1960s, pioneering aviator Wally Funk, who could fly just about anything with wings, was part of the "Mercury 13" program exploring whether women could be astronauts — but despite excelling at all the tests male astronauts took, NASA refused to accept women into the space program. Today, the 82-year-old finally achieved her lifelong dream of traveling to space when she left orbit on commercial space company Blue Origin's inaugural crewed flight! Funk, who became the oldest person ever to leave Earth's atmosphere on today's 10 minute, 19 second journey, joined Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemon, a physics student who became the youngest person ever to go to space on the same trip. "No one has waited longer," Bezos wrote in an Instagram post when he announced he had invited Funk on the flight. "It's time. Welcome to the crew, Wally." Continue reading Continue reading

  • NASA astronaut Christina Koch spent 328 days in space, the longest spaceflight ever by a woman.

    NASA astronaut Christina Koch returned safety to Earth today after 328 days in space, setting a new record for the longest spaceflight by a woman! Koch's original flight was supposed to be only 6 months long, but NASA extended her stay on the International Space Station (ISS) – in part to collect more data about how human bodies function after long periods in space. "It is a wonderful thing for science," Koch said in an interview in December from the ISS. "We see another aspect of how the human body is affected by microgravity for the long term. That is really important for our future spaceflight plans, going forward to the moon and Mars.... Having the opportunity to be up here for so long is truly an honor." Continue reading Continue reading

  • The newly minted astronauts are the first class from NASA's Artemis program which planning missions to the Moon and, ultimately, missions to Mars.

    When NASA's newest astronaut class graduated this week, it included five mighty women! The new astronauts have spent two years in intensive training in a wide variety of skills, including spacewalking, robotics, International Space Station (ISS) systems, T-38 jet proficiency, and the Russian language. "As astronauts, they’ll help develop spacecraft [and] support the teams currently in space," NASA wrote in a graduation announcement, "and ultimately join the ranks of only about 500 people who have had the honor of going into space." Continue reading Continue reading

  • During their historic spacewalk, NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir replaced a power controller on the International Space Station.

    NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made history today when they conducted the first all-female spacewalk in more than five decades of spacewalking! The two ventured outside of the International Space Station at 7:50 this morning for a 7-hour mission to replace a failed power controller. Of the 227 people who have participated in spacewalks since the first one took place in 1965, only 14 have been women. Prior to their spacewalk, Meir spoke of its historic significance and the long fight for women to have equal access and opportunity to participate in the space program: "What we’re doing now shows all of the work that went in for the decades prior, all of the women that worked to get us where we are today." Continue reading Continue reading

  • From an aerospace engineer to a helicopter pilot to a microbiologist, these five remarkable women will help lead the way in space exploration!

    When NASA announced its newest class of astronaut candidates, it included five inspiring women! NASA received a record-breaking number of applicants for this astronaut class — over 18,000 in all — and the class itself has twelve members, their largest since the year 2000. "These women and men deserve our enthusiastic congratulations," said retired astronaut and Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa. "Children all across the United States right now dream of being in their shoes someday. We here at NASA are excited to welcome them to the team and look forward to working with them to inspire the next generation of explorers."

    The astronaut candidates have another year of training in front of them before they're ready to break Earth's atmosphere, but in the meantime, space-loving Mighty Girls have five new role models to look up to! In this blog post, we introduce you to these five remarkably talented women. And, to inspire children who dream of their own careers in space, at the end of the post, we've showcased a variety of girl-empowering books and toys about shooting for the stars! Continue reading Continue reading

  • The "Women of NASA" Lego Set has become one of this year's top toys -- now learn the inspiring stories of these trailblazing scientists!

    When LEGO released their Women of NASA Building Set last month, it was a sensation. Our Facebook post announcing its release quickly went viral. The set became Amazon's bestselling toy and sold out within a day, showing the strong demand for science toys with female scientists at the forefront!

    The set features four pioneering women who made major contributions to the U.S. space program: astronomer and educator Nancy Grace Roman; computer scientist Margaret Hamilton; astronaut and physicist Sally Ride; and astronaut, physician, and engineer Mae Jemison. The 231-piece set, created by LEGO fan and science writer Maia Weinstock, includes minifigures of all four women and buildable models of the Hubble space telescope and a space shuttle.

    Weinstock, who first proposed the set on LEGO's crowdsourcing design platform, designed her set to increase awareness of the contributions these women made to the space program and to science as a whole. In her proposal, she wrote: “In many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated — especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)." In a later interview, Weinstock added that she believes it's "critical to have toys that girls can look at and play with and think, ‘that's me!'’ or ‘that could be me!"

    The massive popularity of this unique set — the first of its kind since the now discontinued LEGO Research Institute — has generated a sense of excitement and curiosity about the women of America's space program. But while many children and adults may recognize their names, few people know the details of these pioneering scientists' work. In this blog post, we're introducing you to these remarkable women, filling in the details about their careers and why they deserve to hold a special place in space history. We've also recommended books for all ages that let those interested explore their fascinating stories in greater depth. They've been immortalized in LEGO form; now it's time to celebrate the women themselves! Continue reading Continue reading

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