So-yeon (b. 1978) is a Korean astronaut and
biotechnologist. She is the first person from her country to fly in space.
She obtained her doctorate in biotech
systems in 2008, and went on to become an Engineering Physics Professor at
Everett Community College. Her pioneering space mission took place in the same
year; she conducted eighteen different science experiments on her flight. She
also worked for the Korean Aerospace Research Institute.
Auñón-Chancellor (b. 1976)
is a NASA astronaut and engineer. She was a flight engineer on the
International Space Station for Expedition 56/57.
She started her
career at NASA as a flight surgeon, supporting medical operations for ISS
astronauts. She also has experience as an aquanaut. Her work and research have
been recognized with honours such as the William K. Douglas Award and the US
Air Force Flight Surgeons Julian Ward Award.
Bonnie Dunbar (b. 1949) is a retired
NASA astronaut and a current professor of aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University. She is also the
Director of the Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation.
She became an astronaut in 1981 and logged
more than 1200 hours in space. She later served as the president and CEO of the
Museum of Flight, and was the head of the STEM Center at the University of Houston.
Janice Voss (1956-2012) was a NASA astronaut and engineer. She
jointly held the record for most space flights by an American woman, with five
over seven years.
She flew as a
mission specialist on space shuttles Endeavour, Columbia and Discovery. She
worked for Orbital Sciences Corporation, as well as Science Director at NASA’s Kepler Space Observatory.
Susan Helms (b. 1958) is a former NASA astronaut and
lieutenant general in the US Air Force. She was a crew member on five Space
Shuttle Missions and spent five months on the ISS.
After graduating from the Air Force Academy, she
worked as an engineer for the Armament Laboratory. She holds the record for the
longest spacewalk, with 8 hours and 56 minutes.
Epps (b. 1970) is a NASA astronaut and aerospace engineer. She served as an
aquanaut on the Aquarius underwater laboratory in 2014.
She obtained her PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of
Maryland, and qualified as an astronaut in 2011. Next year, she is set to spend
up to six months on the International Space Station, on which occasion she will
become the first African American crew member.
Kathryn C. Thornton (b. 1952) is a former
NASA astronaut, having logged more than 975 hours in space. She is currently a
professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of
She obtained her PhD
in physics in 1979, and went on to conduct research at the Max Planck Institute
for Nuclear Physics in Germany before starting work at the US Army Foreign
Science and Technology Center. She was a mission specialist on the Space
Shuttle Discovery and later on the Endeavour.
Sally Ride (1951-2012) was the first American
and third woman in space, as well as the youngest astronaut to have travelled to
space, at the age of 32. She achieved this in 1983 on board the space shuttle Challenger.
She started working
for NASA in 1978, and spent more than 340 hours in space in total. She founded
NASA’s Office of Exploration, and served as director of the California Space
Institute. She taught physics at the University of California, San Diego.
Samantha Cristoforetti (b. 1977) is an
astronaut working for the European Space Agency, the first Italian woman in
space. She also holds the record for the longest single space flight by a
woman, and for the longest uninterrupted space flight by any European
She is also a pilot
and an engineer, graduating from the Technical University of Munich. She is one
of the first women lieutenants and fighter pilots in the Italian Air Force.
Another claim to fame is being the first person to brew an espresso coffee in