NASA Astronaut Kathryn Sullivan’s Pioneering Adventures in Space - Trust Me Shops
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NASA Astronaut Kathryn Sullivan’s Pioneering Adventures in Space

NASA Astronaut Kathryn Sullivan’s Pioneering Adventures in Space

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Dr. Kathryn Sullivan has an elite status among groundbreaking American women. In January 1978, she was selected by NASA as part of the first astronaut class to include females. "All six of us in that first batch of women felt a self-imposed pressure," Sullivan says in a 2017 interview for the multimedia project TIME Firsts.

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Dr. Kathryn Sullivan has an elite status among groundbreaking American women. In January 1978, she was selected by NASA as part of the first astronaut class to include females. "All six of us in that first batch of women felt a self-imposed pressure," Sullivan says in a 2017 interview for the multimedia project TIME Firsts. "One of us would be the first to fly, another would be the first to do a spacewalk—which only a small group of the Astronaut Corps gets to do. We knew our performance would have a big influence on the prospects of the women who would come after us."
As a matter of record, Sullivan was the third American woman to fly in space (Sally Ride and Judith Resnick flew before her). Yet, during her first flight, in October 1984, as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, she became the first American woman to perform a spacewalk.
We recently spoke with Sullivan about her illustrious career and her recent book, Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention. Read on to discover her pathway to space, gain insight into breaking into a traditionally male-dominated field, and benefit from wisdom about matters such as effective communication, leadership strategies, and the value of self-reflection.
Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of NASA

The cover of Kathryn Sullivan's book, Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention
The cover of Kathryn Sullivan's book, Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention

Sputnik Baby

Sullivan acquired a thirst for adventure at an early age. A self-described "Sputnik baby," she can recall peering into the night sky with her father, an aerospace engineer, in search of the passing Russian satellite that launched the Space Age, a day after she turned 6.

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