By Anne Wainscott-Sargent
This year’s theme for World Space Week 2021 celebrates the impact of women in space. The next chapter of space exploration and innovation breakthroughs will need diverse ideas and inclusive mindsets across the space sector.
From Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to rocket into orbit, to Wally Funk, who was blocked from being astronaut because of her gender but finally reached space at age 82 on board Blue Origin earlier this year, we can learn much from these pioneers. Below are a few quotes in celebration of these pioneering women in Space:
- “A bird cannot fly with one wing only. Human space flight cannot develop any further without the active participation of women.” – Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space on June 16, 1963
- “If we want scientists and engineers in the future, we should be cultivating the girls as much as the boys.” – Sally Ride, first U.S. woman in space (June 18, 1983)
- “When I was a child, I dreamed about space – I admired pilots, astronauts and I’ve admired explorers of all kinds. I don’t think of myself as a woman and having anything to prove.”
– Col. Eilleen Collins, first woman space shuttle commander, July 23, 1999, and first person to fly the shuttle to two different space stations
- “I figure if a farmer’s daughter from Iowa can become an astronaut, you can be just about anything you want to be.” – Peggy Whitson, first woman to command the International Space Station (April 16, 2008), which she did twice, and first female chief of NASA’s Astronaut Office
- “I like to do things that nobody’s ever done before.” – Wally Funk, undeterred by NASA’s rejection of her four times as one of the Mercury 13 women, she finally achieved her space dream at age 82, joining Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin’s suborbital flight on July 20, 2021
Check out Space.com’s Gallery of female astronaut firsts: Pioneering women in space: A gallery of astronaut firsts | Space.
Anne Wainscott-Sargent is a space storyteller and writer. Follow her on Twitter at @AnneWainscott.