NASA’s new astronaut class is the first ever to have an even split of men and women. Of the eight new astronauts four are female. This is fantastic for space, fantastic for us dreamers and a fantastic inspiration for the next generation of space travellers.
I’d like to congratulate all eight new astronaut candidates (affectionately know as Ascans) on their selection. To get selected is no easy feat – I’ve friends who made it down to the last 400, and I can vouch for the fact that they would have been incredible astronauts, so NASA must have been spoilt for choice making their selection.
On Sunday I wrote about the 50th anniversary of the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, and today is the 30th anniversary of the first American woman in space, Sally Ride. It seems fitting then that the announcement of the first fully balanced astronaut class came between these two anniversaries.
There is still more to be done though. Having celebrated Valentina’s day on Sunday I’m already thinking about what we can do next year. I think we should use it as a special day when we encourage scientists, astronauts, engineers and storytellers to visit a local school and inspire the children to reach for the stars. Perhaps we can match-make people who pledge to do so, with schools that would like to take part. It’s definitely something that I would like to develop.
We had some fun on Sunday – and here are a few of the pictures that people posted explaining what space means to them. Thanks to all my space friends around the who celebrated the day with me.