October 17, 1956
Former astronaut Mae Jemison was born in Decatur. In 1992, Jemison became the first African-American woman to travel to space when she served as a science mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Endeavor. During her only mission in space, she led crew-related scientific experiments in the Spacelab, a portable laboratory developed by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. After retiring from NASA in 1993, Jemison founded a technology consulting firm, a medical technology company and the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, a scientific philanthropic organization. Jemison was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the International Space Hall of Fame.
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American astronaut Mae Jemison at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, Jan. 1992. (Image credit: NASA)
Astronaut Mae C. Jemison served as a science mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. She logged 190 hours, 30 minutes, and 23 seconds in space and returned, with the rest of the Endeavour crew, to Earth on September 20, 1992. Born in Decatur, Morgan County, Jemison has been a tireless advocate for science education and space exploration. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
On Sept. 12, 1992, launch day of the STS-47 Spacelab-J mission on space shuttle Endeavour, NASA astronaut Mae Jemison waits as her suit technician, Sharon McDougle, performs a unpressurized and pressurized leak check on her spacesuit at the Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center. Dr. Jemison was the science mission specialist on the eight-day joint mission with Japan’s space agency, which included 24 materials science and 20 life sciences experiments. She was the first African-American woman to fly in space. McDougle said of her role as Dr. Jemison’s suit tech, “I just wanted it to be a good experience for her. I’m sure it was probably a little scary for her being the first African-American woman to go into space, so I wanted to do my part in making it special for her too. And for me, because I was excited about being a part of history.” (Image credit: NASA)
Astronaut Mae C. Jemison, science mission specialist, is pictured in the Spacelab-J Science Module, wearing a headband and other monitoring gear for physiological evaluation aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. Jemison, born in Decatur, Morgan County, was the first African American woman in space. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
Mission Specialist Mae Jemison at aft flight deck ports (001-003) on Space Shuttle mission STS-47. (Image credit: NASA)
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