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/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan

March Key Spouse Program kicks off initial training

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan Valerie Fioretta, key spouse facilitator and director of the Airman and Family Readiness Center, March Air Reserve Base, explains an exercise to participants during an init...
 
 

‘Tis the season for holiday health

The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends, celebrate life, to be grateful, and reflect on what’s important. They are also a time to appreciate the gift of health. Here are some holiday tips to support your efforts for health and safety this season. Wash your hands often. Keeping hands...
 
 

California DMV to unveil Veteran driver license, ID card

Late next year, California’s nearly two million Veterans will have the chance to get a special Veteran marking on their California driver license or ID card. The word “VETERAN” on their card will indicate they have served in the United States Armed Forces. The Veteran designation will cost an additional $5. To get the new...
 

 

Safety Tips for this holiday season

It’s that time of year once again, and the March ARB Fire Prevention wants to ensure your safety during the holiday season. It is our pleasure to share the following safety tips to help you enjoy the holiday season. Only flame-proof decorations are authorized for use on March ARB. Special decorations or temporary arrangements for...
 
 

CAL FIRE warns of home heating dangers during winter storms

As a major winter storm prepares to hit California, CAL FIRE is reminding residents to take steps to heat their homes safely. While the cooler weather and rain is a welcomed event during a time of severe drought in California, it also means that many will need to turn on home heating sources to keep...
 
 

Gen. Hyten: Future of AF is air, space, cyberspace integration

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The commander of Air Force Space Command talked about the fundamental relationship between space operations and everyday life – not only for the military, but for the American people – during a breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club, Dec. 5. Gen. John E. Hyten, the AFSPC commander, explained the complexities of global...
 




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