For the first time in nearly a decade astronauts are preparing to take off again from U.S. soil, and we’re sure that women will be among the many to fly into space in the coming decades.
Since space travel became a reality, women have been on the cutting edge of its history. Though the early years were marked with sexism, it did not stop us from stepping up to the challenge. The earliest space flight training included women. By the time the first U.S. woman, Sally Ride, made her flight into space in 1983 she had been preceded by two female Russian cosmonauts.
Sally Ride would go on to earn the Medal of Freedom, be the first female to control a robotic arm with precious space cargo, and the first woman to travel to space more than once. To date, 65 women have been to space and back, despite the challenges of the glass ceiling. Plus our bodies are better suited for the rigors of space flight.
Here are a just a few notable achievements we’ve made:
2008 – Peggy Whitson the first female commander.
2010 – Four women in space simultaneously.
2013 – The astronaut class saw an equal amount of women and men.
2019 – The first all-female space walk.
One of the earliest challenges that women space pioneers would face, would be discrimination based on incorrect assumptions about their cycle. Much concern was voiced as to whether having your period in space could cause health issues.
This myth was quickly dispelled, but by who? It could have been by Sally Ride, or one of her contemporaries, but we just don’t know. What we DO know is that it’s much ado about nothing. Turns out that there’s no real change at all.
So as we prepare to return to space and blazing new frontiers—worrying about our periods isn’t necessary. Female astronauts today are free to choose how they deal with their period in space. No doubt, thanks to pioneers like Sally Ride.
We wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the period supplies they stock on the International Space Station are probably organic and supporting the women of tomorrow on this new frontier.