Women in Space

This course introduces women who have played pivotal roles in the U.S. space program, as astronauts, engineers, flight controllers, researchers and mentors for the next generation of space pioneers.

Four female astronauts on the International Space Station pose for a photo in the Cupola while space shuttle Discovery remains docked with the station.

Women have played a vital role in the U.S. space program since its inception in the 1940’s. While women were once considered unfit for space travel, the most recent NASA class is 50 percent female. This course examines the impact women have had on space exploration and space science nationally, internationally and here in Houston, and the challenges they have overcome along the way. Speakers include one of the first female flight controllers, a female astronaut, scientists conducting space research and those making preparations to travel back to the moon and beyond.

Image: From lower right clockwise, NASA astronauts Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson, Tracy Caldwell Dyson, and Naoko Yamazaki pose for group photo in the Cupola of the International Space Station (STS-131). (National Archives Catalog/NASA)


Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
GHUM1504.F18.1 Women in Space Instructors On-campus 7–8:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 25, 2018

INSTRUCTOR: Women in Space Instructors
FORMAT: On-campus
SCHEDULE: 7–8:30 p.m.
START DATE: Sept. 25, 2018

Instructor: Women in Space Instructors

Sept. 25. “The History of Women in Space.” Jennifer Ross-Nazzal, Ph.D., historian, Johnson Space Center 

Oct. 2. “A Woman in NASA’s Mission Control.” Marianne J. Dyson, former NASA flight controller 

Oct. 9. “Life on a Space Mission.” Shannon Walker, Ph.D., NASA astronaut

Oct. 16. “The Role of Human Factors Engineering and Human System Integration in Future Space Exploration.” Mihriban Whitmore, Ph.D., contracting officer’s representative, Human Health and Performance Directorate, Johnson Space Center 

Oct. 23. “International Space Station Science Accomplishments and Benefits of Research.” Julie Robinson, Ph.D., chief scientist, International Space Station; Johnson Space Center

Oct. 30. “Robotic Exploration of the Solar System.” Louise Prockter, Ph.D., director of The Lunar and Planetary Institute

Nov. 6. “The New Moon: Living and Working in Space.” Patricia Reiff, Ph.D., associate director for public outreach, Rice Space Institute and professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University

Nov. 13. “Cultivating the Next Generation of Female Space Pioneers.” Carolyn Sumners, Ed.D., vice president of astronomy, Houston Museum of Natural Science; adjunct professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University

Term: Fall 2018

Start Date: Sept. 25, 2018

End Date: Nov. 13, 2018

Schedule: 7–8:30 p.m.

Length: Eight Tuesdays

Location: Rice campus

Fee: $235

Early Registration: $225 if registering by Sept. 11

Rice Alumni: $212

CEUs: 1.2

Note: Nov. 13 lecture held at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

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