Astronauts Dr. N. Jan Davis (l.) and Dr. Mae C. Jemison (r.) were mission specialists on board the STS-47 mission in 1992. NASA
Valentina Tereshkova, who became the first woman in space in 1963, is seen on this Soviet postage stamp.
Dr. Shannon Lucid was the first woman to hold an international record for the most flight hours in orbit by any non-Russian, and until June 2007 she also held the record for the most flight hours in orbit by any woman in the world. NASA
Jerrie Cobb, a well known female pilot in the 1950s, tests a Gimbal Rig in the Altitude Wind Tunnel in April 1960. Jerrie Cobb was the first female to pass all three phases of the Mercury Astronaut Program but NASA rules stipulated that only military test pilots could become astronauts and there were no female military test pilots. Jerrie completed this astounding feat in 1961. NASA
Sally Ride was the first American woman in space in 1983. Dr. Ride is currently a physics professor and Director of the California Space Institute at the University of California, San Diego. NASA
Women scientists in training at Marshall Space Flight Center, (top to bottom) Carolyn Griner, Ann Whitaker, and Dr. Mary Johnston, are shown simulating weightlessness while undergoing training in the Neutral Buoyancy Simulator in 1975. NASA
Svetlana Savitskaya (c.), the second woman in space, was also the first woman to perform a space walk in 1984. Her mission is commemorated on this Soviet postage stamp.
Astronaut Chiaki Mukai conducts the Lower Body Negative Pressure experiment inside the International Microgravity Laboratory-2 mission science module in 1994. Dr. Chiaki Mukai is one of the National Space Development Agency of Japan astronauts chosen by NASA as a payload specialist. NASA
Female astronauts Jan Davis and Mae Jemison undergo training at Marshall's Spacelab-J Crew Training facility in 1992. NASA
Exuberant and thrilled to be at the Kennedy Space Center, seven women who once aspired to fly into space stand outside Launch Pad 39B near the Space Shuttle Discovery, poised for liftoff on the first flight of 1995. They are members of the First Lady Astronaut Trainees, a group of women who trained to become astronauts for America's first human spaceflight program back in the early 1960s. Although this FLATs effort was never an official NASA program, their commitment helped pave the way for the milestone Eileen Collins set: becoming the first female Shuttle pilot. NASA
Astronauts of the STS-7/Challenger mission are left to right, first row: Sally K. Ride (mission specialist), Robert L. Crippen (commander), Frederick H. Hauck (pilot); rear row: John M. Fabian (left) and Norman E. Thagard (mission specialists). STS-7 launched the first five-member crew and the first American female astronaut into space on June 18, 1983. NASA
With NASA's Orion under development, the Defense Department and NASA are dusting off their old capsule-recovery playbook to achieve something they haven't done since 1975.
Brock Vergakis, Associated Press /
August 16, 2013
Seaman Andrew Schneider/US Navy/AP
During the glory days of the U.S. space program in the 1960s and '70s, astronauts returning to Earth splashed down at sea in their capsules and were picked up by the Navy in a triumphant moment that made for stirring TV. Now, NASA and the Navy are training again for the first such recovery in a generation.