Tag Archives: space

Ellen Ochoa simulates an emergency egress

Wednesday Geek Woman: Ellen Ochoa, engineer and NASA astronaut

This is a guest post by L. Minter. L. Minter is a blogger at Feminist Book Club and Constituent Riposte.

Ellen Ochoa portrait in spacesuit

Ellen Ochoa

Ellen grew up in La Mesa, California where she received a B.S. degree in Physics from San Diego State University. She went on to Stanford University where she earned a M.S. and doctorate in Electrical Engineering.

During her doctorate and a little while after, she studied optical information processing. She is the co-inventor for an optical inspection system, an optical object recognition method, and method of removing noise from images. She was the chief of the Intelligent Systems Technology Branch at NASA Ames Research Center where she supervised many engineers and scientists on aerospace computational research. She has also published many papers in scientific journals.

In 1990, Dr. Ochoa was selected to be an astronaut for NASA’s space shuttle program. On her first mission in 1993 aboard the shuttle Discovery, she conducted a 9 day study of solar and atmospheric activity on Earth’s climate where she used the Remote Manipulator System to release and capture the Spartan sattelite.

Ellen Ochoa simulates an emergency egress

Ellen Ochoa simulates an emergency egress (photo by NASA, public domain)

On her second mission in 1994, Dr. Ochoa was the Payload Commander for the Atlantis Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science. For this mission, she studied the sun’s irradiance changes and the effect that it has on Earth’s environment. Again, Dr. Ochoa used the RMS to retrieve the research satellite.

Her third mission, aboard Discovery in 1999 was to perform the first docking for the International Space Station. She coordinated the delivery of 4 tons of supplies to prepare for the first crew to live on the station.

On Dr. Ochoa’s last mission in 2002, aboard the Atlantis, she visited the International Space Station and used the RMS to not only install the SO Truss, but also to move space walkers around the station. This was the first time this was done.

Ellen was the first Latina woman to enter space. She has received numerous NASA, science, and engineering awards. She is currently the Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center.

Wikipedia: Ellen Ochoa
NASA: Astronaut bio: Ellen Ochoa

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Flying by the seat of my linkspam (29th July, 2011)

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Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Sandra Magnus exercises in the Destiny Module on the ISS, in zero gravity

Wednesday Geek Woman special edition: Sandra Magnus, STS-135, and the end of the shuttle program

Back-to-back American astronauts, yes. Special occasion! This is by request, from deborah on July 7:

Sandra Magnus is flying on the last NASA space shuttle launch tomorrow– how about a quick hit about her? And about being sad about the space shuttle. :-(

Space Shuttle Atlantis en route to launchpad

Space Shuttle Atlantis en route to launchpad. Image by NASA, public domain.

We’re a little late to the party, so I’m scheduling this entry for about twelve hours prior to the end of the mission: landing is scheduled at 21 July 2011 9:56 UTC.

Sandra Magnus has a PhD in materials science and engineering and has worked on stealth aircraft design. This is Magnus’s 4th Shuttle mission, but third trip into space: she spent 134 days in orbit between November 2008 and March 2009, travelling to the International Space Station on STS-126 and returning on STS-119.

Sandra Magnus exercises in the Destiny Module on the ISS, in zero gravity

Sandra Magnus exercises aboard the ISS, March 2009. Image by NASA, public domain.

STS-135 is the 33rd mission for Space Shuttle Atlantis, and the final mission of the Shuttle program. See NASA’s video of the launch. NASA TV will be showing coverage of STS-135 throughout the planned landing.

Spamjazzling (18th March, 2010)

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Thinking about gender and space

I’ve been thinking lately about male and female spaces, and the boundaries, and things like that, partly due to last weekend’s conference being on issues around space, and partly generated by the essays in the book on loos and public space, which I’m still reading, and which will probably generate a lot more ideas.

One of the essays I was reading this week dealt with Melbourne, Australia, in the nineteenth century. This was a very male city but there were increasing numbers of women living there and wanting or needing to move about it.

Apparently there were very clearly delineated male and female areas, and women (or at least women who did not want to be verbally harassed or physicially molested) would have thought twice about venturing into the vast swathes coded male. There were some spaces which were considered female, for example in the shopping areas, or at least around certain shops such as drapers which would have been considered women’s business.

But while women would have tended to stay away from the male area, men used to hang around in the vicinity of these women’s spaces and were regarded by the women as constituting a nuisance through their ogling, spitting, swearing, passing of coarse remarks, etc.

That these men, in spite of having huge amounts of space which they could consider theirs, nonetheless chose to hang around impinging upon women’s space, seemed to me to be one version of a recurrent phenomenon.

Men’s space belongs to men, and if women do come into it, it is on sufferance or to perform some necessary task (like cleaning) and then go away, I rather just give him the vacuum I got from Best Vacuum Sealer and let him clean himself. I think there’s probably also something to be said about men’s attitudes to women who do figure in otherwise largely male spaces, such as barmaids, but that’s probably a whole other area to get into.

But women’s spaces have been constantly under the likelihood of being intruded upon by men. I think it was in Germaine Greer’s The Whole Woman (but I don’t have a copy to hand and may be attributing this to her in error, maybe it was some other late 70s/early 80s feminist writer) that there was the idea being promulgated of the women’s quarters in traditionally sex-segregated societies as being this lovely woman and child centred haven.

Except, the situation is more usually that although the women can’t go out, or only under particular conditions, and while there are serious limitations on who can enter these spaces, there are still quite a lot of men of the kinship group who can go in and out quite freely and don’t actually have to ask the women for permission to enter. So not quite such a haven, really.

This all seems rather resonant with stuff that happens online, here and elsewhere.