"I’m thrilled to pay tribute to Sally because her dedication and superb talent cemented the value of women’s contributions in space and in science, smoothing the path for all women to achieve success. Sally showed the world what was possible, opening the eyes of millions of women and men to what could be. Her achievements in space inspired a generation of young women, and her achievements in STEM education will pass that legacy of inspiration on to future generations."
NASA and President Obama are honoring the life and legacy of Sally Ride on the day a national tribute was held for the first American woman in space.
The president announced Monday afternoon Ride will be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House later this year. The Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
“We remember Sally Ride not just as a national hero, but as a role model to generations of young women,” said President Obama. “Sally inspired us to reach for the stars, and she advocated for a greater focus on the science, technology, engineering and math that would help us get there. Sally showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I look forward to welcoming her family to the White House as we celebrate her life and legacy.”
"You always wonder if you’re doing the right things for your children. I have struggled with whether it is a good thing for me to leave my three-year-old for six months. But after going through it in my head for a long time, this is a dream I had since I was a young child, myself. I don’t think I would be setting a very good example for my son if I were to give up on my dream."
Pauline Hwang, has been working on the Mars Science Laboratory project since 2010 starting at design and development into the operations phase of the mission. She was the Deputy Team Chief for Launch/Cruise/EDL operations for the uplink planning team and is currently working as a Tactical Uplink Lead for surface operations.
Astronauts are not lone pilots flying into the vast emptiness, they are backup up by a family at home. The members of upcoming expedition 36 will keep in contact with their families at home. Karen Nyberg will leave her son Jack in the caring hands of her husband astronaut Doug Hurley. ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano will leave his two daughters and their mother Kathy Dillow to take care of matters on Earth.
There is plenty of oppertunity for the astronauts to keep in touch with their family. They can email and call their family. There is also a weekly videoconference, specially scheduled for the families. This is still not the same as being there, little Jack will have his first schooldays while Karen works at the Space Station.
I work aerothermodynamics for the Orion Program. This means I look at how airflow heats a spacecraft as it comes back to Earth from outer space. I predict how hot the Orion spacecraft will get as it re-enters the atmosphere. Our goal is to protect the crew by making sure the capsule doesn’t overheat.
The most exciting part of my job is when I test scaled-down spacecraft in the wind tunnels. We simulate the airflow around the spacecraft and take heating measurements. The best part is when we use our computer programs to predict the measurements and they match the results from the wind tunnel test!
Growing up in Iowa, I never thought that I would actually work for NASA. But I kept studying math and science through school and applied for a NASA internship while in college. Now that I work at NASA, I’m excited to keep exploring, to push our current understanding of the Earth and our Solar System. The more we learn about what’s out there, the more knowledge we bring back to help us on Earth.