Tuesday, 24 November 2015

It could have been me?

First human on the Moon
I have always been fascinated by space travel. As a child I loved hearing about Yuri Gagarin’s orbit around the Earth and Sigmund Jähn’s journey into space. But the only female space traveller I ever heard of was Laika, the dog.

I know things have changed quite a bit since the Mercury 13 women were prohibited from flying (Martha Ackmann wrote a fantastic account) – and of course Russia’s Valentina Tereshkova already flew into space in the 1960s. However, while women are, and always have been, part of space exploration do we really learn about them?

I went to the Kennedy Space Centre last February to find out. In fact, I was hoping for a giant exhibition of women-in-space – perhaps unsurprisingly I was in for a disappointment…

While some of the language has certainly changed – Neil Armstrong is no longer the ‘first man’ to have walked on the Moon – spacewomen were next to nowhere to be found.

So I documented the few women who were part of this (massive) display: 

Sandra Hall Magnus - NASA Astronaut
Charlie Blackwell-Thompson - NASA Test Director

And I put myself in the picture to imagine what it would have been like to travel into space.

Because whatever the Kennedy Space Centre was trying to tell me; thanks to Valentina Tereshkova, Sally Ride, Mae Jemison, Chiaki Mukai, Claudie Haigneré, Kalpana Chawla, Liu Yang and all the other spacewomen, it could have been, and can be, you or me.

Me in the picture

1 comment:

  1. What do you call a female astronaut? Read this fantastic piece by Sarah Jackson to find out: 'Astronautrix, astronette, feminaut, space girl…' - https://badreputation.org.uk/2013/06/17/astronautrix-astronette-feminaut-space-girl