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.


 
 

 
Tammy_Duckworth,_official_portrait,_113th_Congress

Knowing the facts: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard in 2004. One of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Fr...
 
 

452nd felt early frost in Cold War

(Ninth in an 11-part series that was first run in the Beacon in 2007) Two weeks after the D-Day invasion, 47 B-17s from the 452nd Bombardment Group and other Army Air Forces units were destroyed by German aircraft at a largely undefended Russian airfield. The attack, which began about 12:30 a.m. June 22, 1944, destroyed...
 
 

Air Force to implement TDY policy changes

The Air Force recently implemented two TDY policy changes that will impact travel reimbursements for Airmen. The first change, which took effect Oct. 1, made changes to the Joint Travel Regulations, Reimbursable and Incidental Expense Policy. The second will be a change in long-term TDY per diem expenses and take effect Nov. 1. Under the...
 

 
running

Lacing up: Finding your ‘WooHoo’ moment

U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard For those who run with me, they know I can get a bit noisy. A celebratory “WooHoo” is a must at the start of taking any hill. The drumbeat of sneakers on the pavement, labore...
 
 
Dom-Violence-Aware-Month-photo

Domestic Violence awareness Month: How to help a friend who is being abused

Here are some ways to help a friend who is being abused: •Set up a time to talk. Try to make sure you have privacy and won’t be distracted or interrupted. •Let your friend know you’re concerned about her safety. Be hone...
 
 
(Courtesy photo/Joe Mora)

Shadowy figure blocks exit to room in March Field building

(Courtesy photo/Joe Mora) A camera captures what appears to be a shadowy figure (left side) sitting in one of several chairs lined up against a wall in a building on March Air Reserve Base Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The image wa...
 




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