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.

May I Borrow The Jet?

Posted by on May 21, 2018 in Astronauts, Preparation, Stories, Weekly Blog | 4 comments

May I Borrow The Jet?

Remember when you were young and you asked to borrow your parents’ car for a date?  What if you could borrow something faster? Say… a jet?  When I became an astronaut, non-pilot Mission Specialists (MSs) had to learn to fly in the backseat of NASA’s T-38 jets. We had instruction in the communication and navigation systems followed by training in doing the actual flying. The T-38s were slick little planes. They could speed around at 700 miles per hour at 40,000 feet and travel 800 miles in one “hop,” or flight.  MSs had to fly a certain...

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Rocket Science

Posted by on April 23, 2018 in Astronauts, Space Shuttle, Stories, Training, Weekly Blog | 0 comments

Rocket Science

“It ain’t rocket science” is often a term used to mean something isn’t as difficult as the building of rockets. For me, it meant the science that was done on rockets—like what I did on my Shuttle flights. Not long ago, I gave a talk to a group of research scientists who are performing ground-breaking studies in many engineering and science fields. I read summaries of their work…so complex I couldn’t understand it all. I began to think the science that I had done with NASA was simple by comparison. Then I decided that our “rocket science” was...

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Top Secret

Posted by on March 27, 2018 in Astronauts, Crews, Duct Tape, Preparation, Stories, Weekly Blog | 2 comments

Top Secret

Before we became Astronauts, NASA wanted to make sure we didn’t have a shady past. The application paperwork was extensive. If we were invited for an interview, we had a background check. When I returned from my week-long job interview at the Johnson Space Center, a neighbor came to see me. “Did you do something wrong?” he asked. “Some guy with an FBI badge came around asking questions about you.  He wanted to know whether you hung out with foreign nationals or were into drugs or were very secretive. I told him you were a surgery resident and...

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Collisions

Posted by on February 20, 2018 in Astronauts, Launch, Space Shuttle, Stories, Weekly Blog | 0 comments

Collisions

Our universe is vast—but that doesn’t mean things don’t run into each other.  Some say our moon was formed out of the debris from an Earth impact with a huge boulder named Theia. And later in Earth’s history, the dinosaurs and most life on our planet may have been destroyed by collision with an asteroid. On some dark nights, we can see meteors burning up as they enter our atmosphere. It’s no surprise then that our spacecraft sometimes get dinged up by things running into them, sometimes with dire consequences. We get help avoiding close...

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Wings

Posted by on January 23, 2018 in Astronauts, Patches, Space Fashion, Weekly Blog, Women | 7 comments

Wings

To military aviators, completing flight training carries a great deal of importance.  The end of the training culminates in a ceremony to certify they’ve earned their “wings.” Military wings have a symbol of their branch of the service with symbolic wings to the side. The United States Navy wings are gold, and the United States Air Force has silver ones. (Hence the Navy boot camp marching song: “I don’t know but I’ve been told Navy wings are made of gold. I don’t know but it’s been said Air Force wings are made of lead.”) For the recipients,...

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Setting A Good Example

Posted by on October 25, 2017 in Astronauts, Featured Article, Heroes, Practice, Preparation, Stories, Weekly Blog, Women | 0 comments

Setting A Good Example

Have you ever had the feeling that you were being watched?  I grew up that way. When you live in a small town where your family has lived for generations, everyone knows your pedigree and knows who you are.  Do something wrong and your momma, grandmamma, and great-grandmamma are sure to find out.  It tends to keep you out of trouble. I was shy and quiet when I entered high school.  Then, I was selected to be a cheerleader, and I was expected to be outgoing.  As a result, I learned, and I changed. Going away to college let me “find myself,” –...

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Hurricanes & The Space Program

Posted by on September 28, 2017 in Astronauts, Stories, Weekly Blog | 0 comments

Hurricanes & The Space Program

When Hurricane Harvey ripped through Houston, it brought back memories of my NASA days in that area.  Thirty-four years ago this month, my husband, fellow Astronaut, Hoot Gibson, and I experienced a fearsome hurricane up close. The Johnson Space Center is located near the Texas Gulf Coast, half-way between Houston and Galveston.  It has seen its share of storms.  Our home for much of our astronaut careers was on a bayou…not far from Galveston Bay. In August 1983, a storm formed in the Gulf of Mexico and became Hurricane Alicia. It was...

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Diapers, Underwear, and Makeup

Posted by on August 29, 2017 in Astronauts, Featured Article, Mission, Space, Space Fashion, Stories, Weekly Blog, Women | 3 comments

Diapers, Underwear, and Makeup

There were many issues to address when women were first accepted into NASA’s Astronaut Corps. While some were important, others were mundane. All had to be decided. How could we urinate while waiting on the launch pad or during a spacewalk? Now that was a major concern of the space program and all six female Astronauts! The device made for the men wasn’t going to work for the women. While designers invented a variety of contraptions that fit the female anatomy, these things were awkward and uncomfortable. How about an adult diaper? Disposable...

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Working With PJs

Posted by on July 25, 2017 in Crews, Featured Article, Heroes, Mission, Practice, Preparation, Stories, Weekly Blog | 1 comment

Working With PJs

Among my most interesting jobs at NASA was one of my first important ones.  The first Space Shuttle launch was scheduled for the spring of 1981.  My class of “Thirty Five New Guys” who had joined the Astronaut Corps in 1978 hoped we’d get to play a role in that exciting upcoming event. Director of Flight Crew Operations George Abbey called me to his office in 1980 with a request: “Rhea, do you think you could work on the search and rescue operations for the first four Shuttle flights?” I jumped at the chance – not knowing exactly what...

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Where’s Waldo? A Different Perspective

Posted by on June 28, 2017 in Astronauts, Space, Stories, Weekly Blog | 1 comment

Where’s Waldo? A Different Perspective

The view from space was incredible.  From 200 miles up, there was a completely new perspective.  To see the distinctive hook of Cape Cod or the blues and greens of the Great Barrier Reef as I sipped my morning coffee reminded me how lucky I was to be an Astronaut.  We had a wonderful teacher, Dr. Bill Muehlberger from the University of Texas in our early days of training.  He took us on field trips to show us what Earth looked like from ground level, then showed us pictures of what the same areas looked like from space. We were enthralled. ...

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