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5 Interesting Facts About the Women of NASA

©NASA

NASA has long been seen as something of a boy’s club, but the fact is that women have contributed greatly to the agency for many decades.

Enjoy these great facts about women’s contributions to NASA.

1. Sally Ride taught them a lesson.

The late Sally Ride taught the boys at NASA a lesson before her historic space flight in 1983. The men who packed her things for her flight asked if 100 tampons would be enough for her weeklong trip.

Ride responded, “No. That would not be the right number” and cut that number in half.

2. Did you know this?

The American who has spent the most time in space is actually a woman. In 2017, astronaut Peggy Whitson became the astronaut to spend the most cumulative time in space when she broke the previous record of 534 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes.

In 2016, Whitson became the oldest woman to go to space at the age of 56 and became the first female to command the International Space Station TWICE.

Hats off to her.

3. The ladies were doing just fine.

Photo Credit: NASA

Women actually outperformed famous astronaut John Glenn on pre-flight tests in the early 1960s. A group of women known as the Mercury 13 went through the same training and tests as Glenn and his fellow astronauts and did better than Glenn on some of the tests.

The women’s program was scrapped in 1962 before any of the women actually went to space. At the time, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was opposed to women going to space because he wanted the program to be led by strong, masculine men in that epic competition with the Soviets.

4. She was a trailblazer.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Kitty O’Brien Joyner became the first female engineer at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1939 and then worked for NASA when the agency was established in 1958. She specialized in the mechanics of wind tunnels and her work helped to define modern aeronautics.

5. That’s a big imprint.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

According to the latest statistics from NASA, a total of 59 women have flown in space, including 50 from NASA and 9 from other countries. The first woman to actually fly in space was Russian Valentina Tereshkova in 1963. Sally Ride became the first American woman to do so in 1983. The first female commander in space was Eileen Collins in 1999.

Those are pretty amazing facts about the contributions of women to our space program, wouldn’t you say?

Do you know some cool facts about the women of NASA?

If so, share them with us in the comments!