Over the decades, so many women have made outstanding contributions towards human spaceflight and the world has gained valuable insights from their initiatives. Women – who came from ordinary background, but knew how to dream big and reach out for the stars! Listed here are the top 5 women astronauts in the world that everyone should be proud of.
1. The “First Lady of Space” – Valentina Tereshkova
Valentina Tereshkova is the first female astronaut to reach the space. Being there, she conducted extensive science and biomedical experiments to discover the effects of space on human body. She took photographs that helped to spot aerosols in the earth’s atmosphere and also piloted the space ship manually. Tereshkova was among the four women to be selected to the Cosmonaut Corps and the only one in the group to ever reach the space. She was an expert parachutist, which further added to her skill as a cosmonaut.
2. “First Black Woman to Reach the Space” – Mae Jemison
Dr. Mae Jemison, a physician who served the Peace Corps, was so much inspired by Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel to space, and Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played the role of Lieutenant Uhura in Star Trek series that she applied to the Astronaut Corps. She joined NASA in 1987 and on September 12, 1992, she was the first African American woman to travel to space. She was a Mission Specialist and experimented on bone cell research on STS-37. Later on, she left NASA and went on to teach and also established her own company.
3. “First American Woman to Travel to Space” – Sally Ride
Dr. Sally Ride is recognized as the first American woman and also the youngest American astronaut ever to travel into space. She flew two space missions (STS-7 and STS-61), serving as a mission specialist. The objective of the missions was to perform pharmaceutical experiments and deploy satellites. She was also the first person to harness robotic arm to retrieve a satellite and the first woman ever to use it in the space. She was also the founder of NASA’s Office of Exploration and also served on Presidential Commissions that was responsible for investigating the disasters of Columbia and Challenger. She left behind an astounding legacy of knowledge and education, emphasizing her dedication to space and science.
4. “First Indian Female in Space” – Kalpana Chawla
Dr. Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian woman and the second from the country to travel into space. She had a PhD in aerospace engineering and began working for NASA in 1988. She took her first flight aboard Columbia in 1994, during which she deployed the Spartan Satellite. She again flew as a mission specialist for STS-107 in 2003 aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. There Chawla and other astronauts performed over 80 experiments on atmospheric dust, microgravity and astronaut safety. However, disaster struck during re-entry and all the crew members were lost.
5. “First Female Space Shuttle Pilot and Commander” – Elleen Collins
Elleen Collins was the second-in-command for the historic rendezvous of the United States – the Mir Space Station. She piloted a second trip to Mir aboard Atlantis, while the next mission was aboard Columbia where she was a commander to the crew that deployed Chandra X-Ray telescope.