Mae Jemison, The First Black Woman In Space, Is Celebrating The 25th Anniversary Of Her Historic Flight

 

25 years ago today, Mae Jemison made history and became the first woman of color to travel into space when the "Endeavor" launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for 127 orbits around the earth. Jemison served as the science mission specialist on the STS-47 Spacelab-J, and returned to earth in September of that same year in 1992. 

"As it was occurring, there were a couple of things that were happening," Jemison told the Observer in an interview about her historic trip . "There was the sense of personal accomplishment, but at the same time, there was the whole issue and whole attention around being the first African American woman astronaut, and even more so, being the first woman of color in the world to go into space."

Pictured: Suit technician, Sharon McDougle suiting Jemison up on launch day. 

However, no matter the barriers that Jemison had to overcome, she knew, even as a little girl, that one day she would travel to space. 

 "As a little girl, growing up, I always assumed I would go into space. Let me make sure that's clear," Jemison said. "I just always assumed, despite the fact that the U.S. hadn’t sent any women up and there, or people of color, that I was going to go."

Now 25 years later, Jemison is set to celebrate her historic trip with a party called "25 Strong" which will be held at the California Science Center in Los Angeles under the "Endeavor" space shuttle on September 15.

Since breaking the glass ceiling in 1992, Jemison has become the first ever real astronaut to appear on Star Trek, received 11 honorary doctorate degrees, founded The Earth We Share (an International Science Camp), created the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, and has been inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame.

Photo credit: Colin Boyle

With her 25th celebration party coming up this Friday, Jemison said: "It’s about my 25th anniversary, but it's [also] about what have I done with my place at the table. 

Ms. Jemison, thank you for paving the way and helping create more seats at the table for women and girls who like you that want to pursue STEM fields. 


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