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.

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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Astronaut Humor

Posted by on March 2, 2021 in Astronauts, Weekly Blog | 6 comments

Astronaut Humor

This blog originally appeared in 2015 and has been brought back and updated by Dr. Seddon. We hope you will enjoy this revised version of a past fan-favorite. I am often asked what Astronauts are really like. All are very bright (some are brilliant), friendly, hard-working, reliable, and productive. These modern-day heroes became my friends in the Shuttle’s heyday. I also had the opportunity to serve twice on Selection Boards for new Astronauts. We liked to say we were looking for high-performing, low-maintenance people. A key character trait...

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Quarantined!

Posted by on February 4, 2021 in Astronauts, Weekly Blog | 2 comments

Quarantined!

As far back as people can remember there have been plagues like the Black Death, cholera, smallpox and leprosy. The only way to stop spreading infections was to avoid contact with sick people. Some of you may remember, as I do, when homes were quarantined if someone living there had some sort of contagious disease like whooping cough or polio. In today’s world things are reversed: people stay home to avoid sick people walking around in the community with the virus. In light of the recent pandemic and its lockdowns, I was reminded of times...

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“Who, me?” Day and the TFNGs

Posted by on January 13, 2021 in Astronauts, Weekly Blog | 3 comments

“Who, me?” Day and the TFNGs

  On the morning of January 16, 1978, an invitation went out to thirty-five lucky individuals. I received a call as I entered the VA Hospital in Memphis where I was completing my surgery residency. My beeper indicated a call for me was waiting at the reception desk. “Hello?” “Hi, Rhea,” said the Johnson Space Center Director of Flight Operations, George Abbey. “Are you still interested in coming to work for us?” Stunned, I thought “Who, me?” as did the thirty-four others. It was the beginning of our journey into the unknown. “Yes, sir!...

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After Challenger

Posted by on November 4, 2020 in Weekly Blog | 2 comments

After Challenger

After Challenger With the renewed interest about the Challenger accident from the Netflix series, I’ve been asked about what happened afterward. Reflecting on the aftermath of the accident has given me time for introspection. Everyone knows about the Rogers Commission which determined that a leaking O-ring on one of the boosters was the cause of the loss of Challenger and that the problem could be fixed. One thing that could not be fixed was the loss of so many dear friends and the havoc it wreaked on their families for the rest of their...

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Words of Encouragement

Posted by on September 29, 2020 in Preperation, Weekly Blog | 8 comments

Words of Encouragement

Have you ever heard words that changed your life?  So often we bumble along with so much jabber in our ears that we don’t really hear the important things.  But simple words of encouragement can change our lives.  On Oct. 4, 1957, I heard words that made set me off on a life’s journey. I was almost 10 and my father took me out in the yard to see the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, fly overhead.  When I asked if people would someday go into space, he told me they probably would.  When I asked “Could I go into space someday?”  Daddy said,...

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My Biggest Science Project

Posted by on September 4, 2020 in Astronauts, Space, Space Shuttle, Weekly Blog | 3 comments

My Biggest Science Project

Did you know that I donated my body to science…twice? I became an Astronaut because I was interested in understanding what happens to humans when they venture away from gravity. We experience gravity from the time we are conceived. When the opportunity came for me to fly aboard two unique Shuttle flights that would gather information on human adaptation to space, I volunteered to be a subject. Little did I know what that would entail. In 1978, I learned that scientists from all over the world could propose experiments to be performed on...

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Two By Two

Posted by on August 4, 2020 in Astronauts, Weekly Blog | 7 comments

Two By Two

When my husband, Hoot Gibson, and I watched the launch of the SpaceX spaceship recently, we were as excited as the rest of the country that NASA was launching from American soil again.  We also realized that, although we don’t personally know Bob Benkhen and Doug Hurley, we share something unusual with them.  Can you guess what it is? Bob and Doug are married to other Astronauts, Megan McArthur and Karen Nyberg, respectively and each has a son.  When we married almost 40 years ago it was the first time active duty Astronauts married and there...

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Rendezvous in Space

Posted by on June 30, 2020 in Astronauts, Crews, Weekly Blog | 2 comments

Rendezvous in Space

Many around the world watched the Space X Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon module launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying Bob Benkyn and Doug Hurley into space. The crew module went on to unite with the International Space Station. The approach and docking were fully automated and worked flawlessly. I remember the days when the mating of huge objects in space was much more complicated – and fraught with peril. Exactly how can you join together two space vehicles whirling around the Earth at over 17,000 miles per hour? Or why would you...

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