Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Women Astronauts

Sally Ride

I've been wanting to share Philip Bond's collection of illustrated astraunauts. I was reminded by reading of Sally Ride's death yesterday. Sally Ride was the first US female astronaut, a full two decades after the first female Russian cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova. Ride was also a physicist and a tireless advocate for kids' science education. She will be long remembered, as she inspired many.

Valentina Tereshkova

As Bond notes, "Valentina Tereshkova orbited the Earth 48 times during her three day spaceflight in Vostok 6 in 1963. First woman in space!"


"Svetlana Savitskaya became the second woman in space when she flew the Soyuz T-7 to the Salyut 7 space station in 1984. First woman to perform a spacewalk!"


"Sheffield born Helen Sharman spent eight days aboard the Russian Mir space station in 1991 after responding to a radio ad. Helen once worked as a chemist for Mars making chocolate more tasty. First Briton and fifteenth woman in space."


"Ontario born Roberta Bondar became the eighteenth woman in space when she flew aboard Shuttle Discovery's STS-42 mission in 1992. Neurologist, photographer, and Canada's first woman in space!"

The world's first neurologist in space, she is also recognized for her contributions to space medicine. Bondar, like many of my father's family, was born in Sault Ste. Marie. I have an aunt who once worked for her. You can find her photos on her website.


"Medical doctor Chiaki Mukai became the first Japanese woman in space when she flew aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia's STS-65 mission in 1994. She also flew on Shuttle Discovery's STS-95 mission in 1998. 25th woman in space!"

I really appreciate his loose lines, and playful colouring in these near-caricature portraits. It's easy to see how the stories of these women could inspire this collection. You can see the rest of Bond's female astronaut series here and check out his website here.

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