On this day in Alabama history: Kathryn Thornton flew on space shuttle

On this day in Alabama history: Kathryn Thornton flew on space shuttle
This photo depicts Astronaut and mission specialist Kathryn Thornton performing the 2nd extra-vehicular activity (EVA) of the STS-61 mission. Thornton, along with astronaut and mission specialist Thomas Akers (out of frame), performed the task of replacing the solar arrays. Launched December 1, 1993 aboard the Space Shuttle Orbiter Endeavor, the STS-61 mission was solely dedicated to servicing the HST. (NASA, Wikipedia)

November 22, 1989

Nuclear physicist Kathryn Thornton became the first woman to fly on a military space mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Thornton, who was born in Montgomery and graduated from Auburn University, flew four missions and logged more than 975 hours in space, including 21 hours of extravehicular activity. While in space, she deployed satellites, conducted research, helped repair the Hubble Space Telescope and tested systems for the construction of the International Space Station. Thornton received NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal in 1996 was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2010. She is one of six astronauts born in Alabama.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

Related Stories