Below, you can find the latest updates from Rhea as she shares her adventures on her journey into space as well as the many other adventures she’s had in her lifetime! Sign up at the bottom of the page if you’re interested in being notified each time she posts a new article.

Thought I Was Gonna Die

Posted by on May 19, 2022 in Space Shuttle, Weekly Blog | 0 comments

Thought I Was Gonna Die

One of the things we had to master as new Astronauts was to be good back-seaters for the pilots in the planes part of the time. As they (and we) gained some confidence in our flying abilities they gave us more and more responsibilities. And of course, we had to learn how to handle emergencies. We had checklists with pages of what to do if something went wrong. Sometimes they did. The pilots were training for a number of jobs, one of which was to join up with the Space Shuttle as it came in for landing. They called the job “chasing” the...

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Just a Handshake…

Posted by on April 26, 2022 in Astronaut Life, Astronaut Wives, Astronauts, Weekly Blog | 4 comments

Just a Handshake…

Have you ever looked back on your life and said “Oh, that changed everything”?  One of those moments happened to me.  It was when our new Astronaut class first got together in 1978.  There were thirty-five of us and most of us didn’t know each other yet.  A reception was planned and we all arrived at the venue.  As I walked in, I noticed two very good-looking fellows down the hallway.  One was blonde and the other dark-haired.  As I got closer, I saw each had vivid blue eyes.  Wow! I was a little uncertain as to what to do.  Fortunately,...

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Space Boo Boos

Posted by on January 31, 2022 in Space Shuttle, Weekly Blog | 0 comments

Space Boo Boos

Despite NASA’s many accomplishments like the moon landing, the Space Shuttle and the Space Station, there were bound to be errors and mistakes, large and small along the way. Want to hear a few that I was aware of? During one of the Shuttle flights one of the females got her long hair caught in a piece of equipment and it pulled a bunch of her hair out. Ouch! NASA bosses (all men at the time) made a rule that all the women had to restrain their long tresses – or cut their hair short. On one of my husband’s flights, there was some concern that...

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The Long Haul

Posted by on January 11, 2022 in Astronaut Life, Space Shuttle, Weekly Blog | 2 comments

The Long Haul

This past endless year of Covid, reminded me of other long waits in my life and the patience it took to get to the end of one thing to begin something better. I remember my many years at NASA and how long each step took to get into space. I had wanted to be an Astronaut since childhood, but NASA didn’t take women. I had faith they would someday. What education, what specialty, what physical requirements would increase my chances of becoming an Astronaut? What were my alternatives? I had to make a lot of guesses and I knew that whatever I...

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Hurricanes Remembered

Posted by on October 5, 2021 in Astronaut Life, Weekly Blog | 0 comments

Hurricanes Remembered

The recent hurricanes that have been devastating so much of the Gulf Coast and beyond remind me what it was like to live near the Johnson Space Center several miles south of Houston near the coast. Over the course of our almost 20 years there, my family had to weather several large tornadoes and hurricanes. We soon learned what steps we had to take before the hurricane and what we would face after. Hurricane Alicia in 1983, a category 3 storm, was our first one. Twenty-one people were killed. It came roaring up over Galveston pushing water...

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Decisions Great and Small

Posted by on September 2, 2021 in Astronauts, Space Fashion, Weekly Blog | 2 comments

Decisions Great and Small

When women were admitted to the Astronaut Corps in 1978, many decisions needed to be made. Some were very important and some were mundane. Most of those decisions had to be made with male engineers. There were no female engineers at NASA back then. Soon after we arrived, we were invited to a meeting with the engineers to decide on something of great importance. How would women contain their urine while waiting on the launch pad for liftoff? Wait times might be a few hours. Men had it easy. They wore a condom connected to a tube that emptied...

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A Dream Comes True

Posted by on July 21, 2021 in Astronauts, Weekly Blog | 9 comments

A Dream Comes True

In the early 1960’s, NASA was ready to fly people into space. They chose from the ranks of the military test pilots. These men were called the Mercury 7 Astronauts because they flew during the Mercury program. They had gone through a great deal of testing to make sure they were physically and mentally able to withstand what had been predicted to befall humans in space. No one knew what the rigors of microgravity would do to the human body. Did you know that women also applied? An amazing group of women pilots each with hundreds of flying...

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Let’s Celebrate Our Nation

Posted by on July 1, 2021 in Holidays, Weekly Blog | 7 comments

Let’s Celebrate Our Nation

The Fourth of July means flags and fireworks and there are many other things that remind us of our country’s greatness. I am particularly fond of remembering how our space program made us a leader among nations. Here are some of my thoughts and memories. In the late 1950s our nation had to decide whether we wanted military supremacy in space or to use space for peaceful purposes. The Space Act of 1958 created NASA, a civilian agency, and gave it control over human spaceflight. It was to be used “for the benefit of all mankind.” When in 1961,...

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Grounded!

Posted by on June 2, 2021 in Astronauts, Weekly Blog | 5 comments

Grounded!

One of the worst things a pilot (or a teenager…) can hear is,” You’re grounded.” For pilots, being stuck on the ground is usually due to one of two reasons – breaking the rules or having a medical problem. When I interviewed for the Astronaut Corps, I had to pass a very thorough physical exam. When I became an Astronaut, I had physicals annually by a Flight Surgeon, someone who has trained in aerospace medicine. If something was found on my physical exam that might make it dangerous to fly, I wasn’t allowed in one of the NASA jets. If I had...

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Can You Hear Me Now?

Posted by on May 5, 2021 in Astronauts, Weekly Blog | 1 comment

Can You Hear Me Now?

Imagine feeling that you are lost in space.  In the early days of spaceflight, Mission Control couldn’t always talk to the Astronauts, leaving them feeling out of touch with Earth.  The silence must have felt eerie. Communication in those days had to be sent and received by ground stations which were part of the NASA Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network.  This network consisted of stations spread around the globe but there were gaps between stations. When I got to NASA in 1978, I recall looking at the huge map on the front wall in...

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