Women in Space!

Only 10% of astronauts are female, and in space engineering that number seems even worse. This blog is dedicated to put the Women in Space in the spotlight to educate and inspire a new generation.

Previously known as F Yeah! Female Astronauts.
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Jelena Serova, Aleksandr Samokutyayev and Barry Wilmore have started their last week on earth. the last weeks are filled with small ceremonies all soyuz crews perform, such as laying flowers at cosmonaut graves in the kremlin wall (5 sept.) and planting a tree at the cosmodrome (17 sept.). Jelena Serova will be the 4th Russian female to fly into space.

Image Source: NASA2Explore


Something I should’ve written way back – my summer internship-kind-of-a-thing at Tartu Observatory’s space technology department and the satellite team ESTCube

To give a brief overview, ESTCube-1 is the first Estonian satellite launched last year. Its primary mission is to perform the first (yeah, a lot of firsts) in-orbit demonstration of the electric solar wind sail (E-sail) concept. It’s a propulsion innovation made by Finnish researcher Pekka Janhunen in 2006, which uses long centrifugally spanned and electrically charged tethers to extract the solar wind momentum for spacecraft thrust. Once operational, its technology is expected to revolutionize the space travel within our solar system.

My internship didn’t last long, because I had already been working in the astrophysics department before that, so it was all basically kind of an introduction into the field, getting to know ESTCube-1 subsystems and the experiment which will be performed within a few weeks (you can read more about that below). I learned about the satellite’s attitude determination and control system (ADCS) and then calculated spacecraft’s thrust during the beginning of the experiment, so per tether length and taking the conditions of Earth’s plasma into account.

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Since her death in 1979, the woman who discovered what the universe is made of has not so much as received a memorial plaque. Her newspaper obituaries do not mention her greatest discovery. […] Every high school student knows that Isaac Newton discovered gravity, that Charles Darwin discovered evolution, and that Albert Einstein discovered the relativity of time. But when it comes to the composition of our universe, the textbooks simply say that the most abundant atom in the universe is hydrogen. And no one ever wonders how we know.

Jeremy Knowles, discussing the complete lack of recognition Cecilia Payne gets, even today, for her revolutionary discovery. (via alliterate)


Cecilia Payne’s mother refused to spend money on her college education, so she won a scholarship to Cambridge.

Cecilia Payne completed her studies, but Cambridge wouldn’t give her a degree because she was a woman, so she said fuck that and moved to the United States to work at Harvard.

Cecilia Payne was the first person ever to earn a Ph.D. in astronomy from Radcliffe College, with what Otto Strauve called “the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.”

Not only did Cecilia Payne discover what the universe is made of, she also discovered what the sun is made of (Henry Norris Russell, a fellow astronomer, is usually given credit for discovering that the sun’s composition is different from the Earth’s, but he came to his conclusions four years later than Payne—after telling her not to publish).

Cecilia Payne is the reason we know basically anything about variable stars (stars whose brightness as seen from earth fluctuates). Literally every other study on variable stars is based on her work.

Cecilia Payne was the first woman to be promoted to full professor from within Harvard, and is often credited with breaking the glass ceiling for women in the Harvard science department and in astronomy, as well as inspiring entire generations of women to take up science.

Cecilia Payne is awesome and everyone should know her.

(via bansheewhale)

(via astro-bitch)


Sept. 12, 1992: Dr. Mae Jemison Becomes First African American Woman in Space

On this day in 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel through space. She served as Mission Specialist aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-47.

WTCI’s Alison Lebovitz discusses the legacy of the first woman of color to travel beyond the stratosphere on “The A List with Alison Lebovitz.” Watch the interview here.

Photos: NASA

(via astro-bitch)


Beijing public school artwork. Can anyone tell me what the caption says?

According to numerous answers on this post so far: Artist: Shi Jia elementary school, student Wang Ling (or Fei?) Yi.

Thank you bellefontaine152, tjchine13, highontimpaniisland and animenur (and of course colchrishadfield for sharing)


"Women Crack Science" — Photo by William E. McCullough for the Valley Times, June 27, 1960: “Mrs. Gerry (Marcia) Neugebauer, left, points out object of interest to Mrs. Peter (Phyllis) Buwalda on global coordinate system often used by space scientists. Both women are in research and experimentation fields at Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Altadena. In center of globe is the earth.” (Los Angeles Public Library)

(via gender-and-science)



Now You Know (Source)

Her name was Katherine G. Johnson

(via astro-bitch)


Anna Lee Fisher, the first mother in space. Pictured here in 1979 when she was selected by NASA as a candidate for space travel, Fisher is currently the oldest active American astronaut. (NASA/DoD)

(via shuttleisland)