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Women

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Thu, June 29 2017

Amelia Earhart: Missing for 80 Years But Not Forgotten

On May 21, 1937, record-setting pilot and celebrity Amelia Earhart set out to become the first woman to fly around the world. By July 2, she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, had flown more than 35,406 kilometers (22,000 miles). They intended to make three final but long over-water flights across the Pacific Ocean to complete the voyage: from New Guinea to Howland Island, Howland to Hawaii, and Hawaii to San Francisco, California. Instead, they disappeared en route to Howland Island.

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Amelia Earhart in Front of her Autogito
Tue, April 11 2017

Inspiration from Women Paving the Way to Mars

Before coming to work at the National Air and Space Museum, I taught for 15 years at Liberty Public Schools near Kansas City, Missouri. When I was teaching, I would write to anyone I thought I could get a response from, including celebrities, asking them for advice for students. My favorite responses were always from astronauts.  

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Note from Astronaut Peggy Whitson
Fri, March 31 2017

Women Guided the Way in the [Simulated] Sky During WWII

The U.S. Navy’s WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) were a notable legacy of World War II’s influence on the evolving gender norms of the later 20th century.

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Learning the Celestial Navigation Trainer
Thu, March 9 2017

NASA Leader Explains Why Failure is Sometimes an Option

From January 2015 to 2017, Dava Newman served as NASA’s deputy administrator. Newman helped lead the organization forward and provided direction on policy and planning. How does someone attain such an important role?

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Dava Newman, Former NASA Deputy Administrator
Wed, March 8 2017

Five Inspiring Women in Aerospace History from Around the World

Today, like many of you, we’re celebrating International Women’s Day. Women around the world have meaningfully contributed to the aerospace industry, from groundbreaking research to daring flights. Here are just a few of those inspiring women.  

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Patricia Cowings
Mon, February 27 2017

Sally Ride: Women’s Firsts in Space and Politics

When the Museum collected objects from Dr. Sally K. Ride's personal collection in 2013, it became clear that Dr. Ride privately say many connections between her history-making spaceflight and the state of American women in politics and public life. Several political buttons found in Dr. Ride's personal desk in her home study tell that story. Curator Margaret Weitekamp shares how these artifacts help tell the full arc of Dr. Ride's life. 

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Sally Ride's ERA Button
Thu, January 26 2017

Hidden Figures and Human Computers

The breakout movie Hidden Figures tells the story of three African American women who worked as mathematicians at NASA. The story sheds light on the significant contributions of the three women—Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson—but also the broader impact that women had behind the scenes at NASA. Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson all began their careers at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)—which later became NASA—working as “computers.” Computers were not what we think of them today. They were people, primarily women, who reduced or analyzed data using mechanical calculators—we’ve previously explored the role of computers in astronomy.

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Human Computers
Mon, October 3 2016

Life as a Female Fighter Pilot

Throughout her military career, Lt. Col. Christine Mau has helped prove that women can perform, outstandingly, in some of the toughest positions in the United States Air Force. And, as a fighter pilot, she has done so with only a small community of female military pilots.  

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Lt. Col. Christine Mau
Mon, August 29 2016

Food & Flight: Olive Ann Beech's Supper Nachos

Olive Ann Beech is proof that some milestones in aviation occur with two feet firmly planted on the ground. Olive Ann co-founded Beech Aircraft Corporation with husband Walter Beech and became the first female executive of an aircraft company when she took the reins in 1940. In Famous Personalities of Flight Cookbook, Olive Ann shared a recipe for supper nachos and a little insight into her early years in the aircraft industry.

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Olive Ann Beech and Louise Thaden
Thu, August 25 2016

1932: Amelia Earhart Flies Nonstop Across U.S.

Today in 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the U.S. nonstop. Earhart  piloted her Lockheed Vega 5B from Los Angeles to Newark in a record 19 hours and 5 minutes.

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Lockheed 5B Vega in Pioneers of Flight

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