Mae Jemison was born on October 17, 1956, She is an African American physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Mae Jemison on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
After the flight of Sally Ride in 1983, Jemison felt the astronaut program had opened up enough for her to apply.Jemison's inspiration for joining NASA was African-American actress Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek. Jemsion was turned down on her first application to NASA, but in 1987 Jemison was accepted on her second application and became one of the fifteen candidates accepted from over 2,000 applicants. "I got a call saying 'Are you still interested?' and I said 'Yeah'," says Jemison.
Her work with NASA before her shuttle launch included launch support activities at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and verification of Shuttle computer software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL)."I did things like help to support the launch of vehicles at Kennedy Space Center," said Jemison. "I was in the first class of astronauts selected after the Challenger accident back in 1986, ...actually worked the launch of the first flight after the Challenger accident.
Jemison flew her only space mission from September 12 to 20, 1992 as a Mission Specialist on STS-47. "The first thing I saw from space was Chicago, my hometown," said Jemison. "I was working on the middeck where there aren't many windows, and as we passed over Chicago, the commander called me up to the flight deck. It was such a significant moment because since I was a little girl I had always assumed I would go into space," Jemison added. "When I grew up in the 1960s the only American astronauts were men. Looking out the window of that space shuttle, I thought if that little girl growing up in Chicago could see her older self now, she would have a huge grin on her face."
STS-47 Mission Patch
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