Local

March 30, 2012

Let’s hear it for the ladies

Tags:
by Bridgette Callahan
student, Cal State San Bernadino
We_Can_Do_It!

You may know that John Glenn was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. You may also know that he flew aboard a space capsule with the call sign “Friendship 7.”

But did you know that women belonged to the team that propelled Glenn and “Friendship 7″ into orbit on Feb. 20, 1962? In fact, dozens of women worked on NASA’s Project Mercury, during a time when images of the “Ozzie and Harriet” 1950s were fresh in people’s minds, stereotypical images of women clad in dresses, heels, and frilly aprons waiting for their husbands to come home from work. But these women were better represented by “Rosie the Riveter” than Harriet Nelson.

Last month, 20 of those women attended the 50th anniversary celebration of Glenn’s pioneering flight, including Lucy Simon Rakov, 74, who trekked from Boston, Mass. to Cape Canaveral, Fla. for the commemorative event.

In an Associated Press article Rakov was quoted as saying, “Most of the women here are wives,” as she pointed out that Project Mercury’s women belong in a league of their own. “We weren’t secretaries. We were mathematicians.”

In her early twenties, Rakov helped design the computer program that the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission control team used to track “Friendship 7’s” movements during the just under five-hour flight.

Patricia Palombo, who now lives near Washington, D.C., also worked as a computer programmer on Project Mercury. Both Rakov and Palombo were just 24 years old when they participated in the groundbreaking venture.

“What we created was the first real-time programming system. We had to take in radar data from the radar stations “¦ and we did it with less computing than you have in your iPhone today,” Rakov said during a WBZ NewsRadio report from Boston, Mass., Feb. 20.

At an age when many of today’s youth use their phones to send numerous text messages a day, young women such as Rakov and Palombo used similar technology to launch Glenn into space, and they did so amidst the frenzy of the “space race” “” the race between the United States and the Soviet Republic to develop the technology to accomplish such feats as putting the first human into orbit. Although the Soviets sent cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into orbit in April of 1961, these young women helped send the first American into orbit less than a year later.

Let’s take the occasion of Women’s History Month to applaud Project Mercury’s women, who endured the pressure of the space race and used the technology of today’s smart phones to help Glenn become the first American to circle the Earth. These young women blazed the trail that gives today’s young women the opportunity to choose either Rosie, Harriet, or both.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Sean Dath

Local organization donates packages to March troops

U.S. Air Force photo/Sean Dath Nora Shaw, project coordinator for Sariaya Association of California, puts the final touches on a care package prior to it being sent to deployed servicemembers from March ARB. Deployed service me...
 
 

‘Tis the season to drink responsibly

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) — It’s that time of year when holiday parties and late night celebrations begin to fill our calendars and we look forward to spending time with family and friends to celebrate our own special reasons for the season. Every Christmas Eve, I celebrate my life and I give thanks...
 
 

Good cyber security habits essential during holidays

With so many new methods for cyber theft, it’s important to remember to take extra steps to protect your bank accounts and money this season, as criminals look to take advantage of the increased spending activity. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your identity and your wallet. Here are some tips for...
 

 

Shop and donate wisely this holiday season

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris recently issued tips on how Californians can protect themselves from identity theft and make the most of their charitable giving throughout this holiday season. Tips for safe shopping: Review your bank and credit card statements frequently for unusual and unfamiliar transactions. In the event of a security breach involving...
 
 
HBI--strength-training-getting-started

Build a better body through strength training

Strength training, also called weight training, boosts your metabolism by adding lean muscle, helping you lose weight and keep it off. It can also prevent diabetes, fight aging, keep your bones strong, protect your memory, lowe...
 
 

Air Force Fitness Management System slated for upgrade

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — Active-duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard officers and enlisted members who want to maintain copies of their pre-July 2010 fitness records need to access the Air Force Fitness Management System (AFFMS) and save or print their records by Dec. 30, Air Force Personnel Center officials said Dec....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin