Words of Encouragement

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...

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Were You Afraid?

Were You Afraid?

That is one of the most frequent questions I am asked about my Space Shuttle launches. Would you be scared perched atop four and a half million pounds of explosives with someone about to light the fuse? I had been named as a crew member on a flight that was to launch in June, 1984.  Through many twists and turns in NASA’s schedule, I ended up training for three different flights until an April 12, 1985 launch date was locked in.  We had...

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Barf Bag Anyone?

Barf Bag Anyone?

Throwing up is never pleasant.  Imagine what it would be like in weightlessness. Two thirds of space travelers have some form of motion sickness, ranging from dizziness to nausea to vomiting.  It might have been present in the early days of spaceflight, but it became more apparent with the Space Shuttle. From sitting on the launch pad to being weightless took eight and a half minutes.  Unlike astronauts who flew in cramped capsules, Shuttle...

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Birthing a Book

Birthing a Book

“Writers are the custodians of memory, and memories have a way of dying with their owner.” William Zinsser wrote that in his book, Writing About Your Life: A Journey into the Past. That was a good reason to proceed with my book. It reminded me that my memories are uniquely my own, and they can’t accurately be told by a ghost writer, no matter how talented. Consider the recent book Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space,...

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