A fascinating new video was posted online this week showing Dr.Rhea Seddon being told by a TV presenter in 1978 that she had been selected by NASA as one of the first 6 female astronauts for the agency. After 15 years of NASA selecting solely male astronauts, Dr.Margaret Rhea Seddon and her 5 colleagues made history as NASA’s first female astronauts (15 years after the Valentina Tereshkova flew as the first woman in space), chosen from 1500 applicants. She went on to become the 5th American woman in space, flying as a mission specialist on STS-51-D on 12th April 1985. Dr.Seddon completed a medical doctorate and was working as a surgical resident prior to being selected by NASA.
When asked by the presenter what she hoped to achieve in space, Dr.Seddon replied with, “I’m interested to see how humans react physiologically to space, how women react physiologically to space and to see how man’s going to cope with living off of this planet.” The presenter then went on to ask, “Do you think you can co-exist in that cockpit with two men?”, a question that shows how far women have come in STEM fields to prove their equality in the 40 years since this was aired. Dr.Seddon pauses and calmly replies with, “I think probably so, I’m used to working primarily with men in my field of surgery, so I think it might be more difficult for me to work with a number with a number of women than to working with men. I’m used to working with men.” Since the first 6 female astronauts were selected in 1978, NASA has gone on to fly 45 female US astronauts, with the most recent astronaut class selected being 50% female!