Women Launching Women: How NASA Mentors Artemis Generation

On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission lifted off on a Saturn V rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Crowds gathered with their eyes craned toward the sky, as NASA set out to make history with their next giant leap ? landing astronauts on the Moon. 

One historical member watching the launch, JoAnn Morgan, instrumentation controller for Apollo 11, and the only female in the firing room inside NASA's Launch Control Center.

"I look at that picture of the firing room where I'm the only woman. And I hope all the pictures now that show people working on the missions to the Moon and onto Mars, in rooms like mission Control or launch Control or wherever ? that there will always be several women. I hope that photos like the ones I'm in don't exist anymore," said Morgan. 

NASA is hard at work 55 years later returning astronauts to the Moon with the Artemis campaign which will land the first woman, first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut on the Moon ? and establish the first long-term presence on the Moon. With these new missions supporting lunar exploration, Morgan's hope for several women in the STEM field is coming true.  

Today, in that very same room where Morgan once sat as the only female engineer, dozens of women sit on console preparing to launch the mighty SLS (Space Launch System) rocket and Orion spacecraft back to the Moon for Artemis II. The room itself is not only full of a diverse group of engineers, but leading the team to liftoff is NASA's first female Launch Director, Charlie Blackwell Thompson.

This Women's History Month, female leaders within the space industry met at NASA Kennedy to reflect on what mentorship means to them.  

"JoAnn, you did show us, whether you knew it at the time or not, that we belong in this room," Blackwell-Thompson said. "Because of the work you did all those years ago, you made it possible for me." 

The leaders meeting shared their thoughts on ways women can lead in the space industry. 

The work NASA does today, wouldn't be possible without the mentors who have blazed the trail before. NASA Kennedy Center Director Janet Petro shares the importance of this teamwork, reminding us, "We are not doing any of this work for just ourselves, it is for the bigger goals of the agency and humanity."  

Have a mentor you would like to thank? Send them your very own NASA thank you card: SP-2024-02-154-KSC EGS Women Launching Women Notecards_fillable.pdf 

?Tienes un mentor al que le gustaría agradecer? Envíales tu propia tarjeta de agradecimiento de la NASA: SP-2024-03-246-KSC EGS WLW ? Thank You Card Spanish Notecards_Fillable.pdf 

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Published: 2024-03-28 19:21