It was a flight of firsts – human milestones, positive international relations -- and a little bit of Noah’s Ark all in one.
Indeed, to a fascinated public, the launch of America’s Space Shuttle Endeavor (aka STS-47) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on September 12, 1992, yielded many memorable achievements...and luminaries.
Among its precious load of human genius and animal cargo were the following “firsts”:
“The first African-American woman to fly in Space....
The first Japanese astronaut to fly aboard the Shuttle...
The first married couple to fly on the same space mission...”
And a slew of “test subjects” including fungi, fish, fruit flies, frogs, frog eggs and more. (From NASA.gov: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/archives/sts-47.html)
A First for African-Americans
As “the first black woman in space,” Mae Jemison “wanted to use her platform...to help inspire women of all races to be involved with science, helping to shape the development of the world...” *
“...Inspired by the Apollo missions and science fiction such as Star Trek, she always assumed she would go into space one day...” *
Her assumption was correct. After studying medicine and becoming a doctor, Jemison applied to be an American astronaut. Her dream became reality when NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) welcomed her into its illustrious orbit, making African-American and American history in the process. *
Onboard Space Shuttle “STS-47” Jemison pursued her love of science, conducting experiments including “producing the first non-insect babies conceived and hatched in space...” such as tadpoles (which grew and returned to Earth with the crew). *
Also serving onboard STS-47 were distinguished space pioneers : Commander Robert L. Gibson, Pilot Curtis L. Brown Jr., Missions Specialists Mark C. Lee and N.Jan Davis (married couple), Jay Apt, and Payload Specialist Mamoru Mohri of Japan. (From NASA):
During her shuttle adventure, Jemison paid homage to “one of her great inspirations” : the actress and activist Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed “Lieutenant Uhura” on the popular 1960s TV space show, “Star Trek.” Jemison began her work shifts aboard the shuttle uttering Lt. Uhura’s famous line: * “Hailing frequencies open.” *
Jemison’s love of science and the popular culture that promoted it led to her appearance in an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” The event was a ground-breaker, earning her the distinction of being “the only real-life astronaut to have also served on the Starship Enterprise...” *
After leaving NASA, Jemison established a foundation in honor of her mother, Dorothy, to “promote science and technology.” She also “set up an initiative called 100 Year Starship” which encouraged citizens “to think big, and to nurture the giant leaps in knowledge that will enable humans to travel beyond our solar system to another star within the next hundred years....” *
Lt. Uhura would be proud.
(*) With the exception of the NASA.gov website, all other information in this blog was found in the 2017 book, “Galaxy Girls—50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space” by Libby Jackson. It’s available for checkout at MidPointe Library.
Images of Astronaut Mae Jemison and “Lt. Uhura” of “Star Trek” are from Google Images.
If you love all-things-Space, visit any MidPointe Library location during its popular “Summer Reading Program” now through July 31!
This year’s theme -- “A Universe of Stories” --celebrates America’s missions in Outer Space including the 50th anniversary of United States astronauts landing on the moon on July 20, 1969.
Check our website for more information on Summer Reading as well as our vast on-shelf and e-libraries for your favorite Space-related materials.
For Summer Reading info, go to www.midpointelibrary.org > Services > Summer Reading
A calendar of all MidPointe programs is available at: www.midpointelibrary.org > Events
To peruse our extensive catalogs, go to:
www.midpointelibrary.org > Catalog Search (for on-shelf and electronic items)
www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Audiobooks > eBooks > Magazines > Movies and TV shows > Music > Research Databases > Digital Archives. You won’t believe the depth, breadth and number of items available to library cardholders!
No library card? No problem! Sign up for your free card at any MidPointe location:
Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center) and onboard our roving Library On Wheels, formerly known as The Bookmobile.
36 years ago today a milestone for NASA and American women took place—the “first American woman in Space."
A more fitting name could not have been reserved for the “first American woman in Space.” (1)
Dr. Sally Ride, “a 32-year-old physicist and pilot, functioned as a ‘mission specialist’ and became the first American woman in space when she began a six-day mission aboard the space shuttle Challenger.” (1)
The milestone for NASA and American women took place on June 18, 1983. (1)
The June 19, 1983, Middletown (Ohio) Journal’s front page headline announced:
“Sally has ‘fun’ as space job begins”
The following article stated : “After 22 years and 57 men, the United States put a woman in space Saturday. Sally Ride, a 32-year-old astrophysicist, went right to work, sending a Canadian satellite spinning out of Challenger’s cargo bay...
“’It sure is fun,’ she told Mission Control during her first hour in space.
At the beginning of the historic flight, “the voice of launch control exulted: ‘Liftoff, liftoff of STS-7 and America’s first woman astronaut.’”
The article reported that “Ms. Ride’s husband, Steve Hawley – an astronaut who is to fly in space for the first time next year – bade her farewell from launch control...
“Sally, have a ball,” he said. “A crowd estimated at half-a-million urged her upward. Many donned T-shirts with the slogan, ‘Ride, Sally Ride.’”
“In his weekly radio address President [Ronald] Reagan called Ms. Ride an example of the great strides women have made. He wished the crew well and added: ‘Nancy and I look forward to being on hand to greet them when they land...”
Ride was not the first female in Space, however. Her heralded ascent occurred nearly twenty years to the day after the first woman ever was launched into Space.
On June 16, 1963, 26-year-old Russian, Valentina Tereshkova, became the very first woman in space. She was a former cotton mill worker. (1)
The day after the Russian space milestone an Associated Press account in the Middletown Journal reported that “The world’s first woman cosmonaut and a male Soviet space comrade whirled around the globe in separate spaceships today. It seemed doubtful that they would link up in orbit.”
The AP article clearly demonstrated a pervasive attitude of the times in which women were often described by their looks as well as their accomplishments:
“Valentina Tereshkova, 26, an attractive blonde, woke up feeling fine this morning after her first night in orbit, Tass news agency said.”
“Her space partner, Lt. Col. Valery Bykovsky, 28, also awoke refreshed from his third night of globe-girdling.
“Both cosmonauts began their working day with physical exercises,” said Tass...
“...Observers noted...that Miss Tereshkova is not a trained pilot and might not be able to carry out her role in a complicated link-up maneuver.
“Tass said the purpose of sending a man and woman into space was to compare the effect of space flight on the two sexes.
“The Soviet Union rocketed Miss Tereshkova, a former factory worker, aloft Sunday, two days after Bykvosky blasted into space...”
Today women astronauts are regular passengers aboard American spacecraft.
And it doesn’t matter how they look.
(1) “The 2019 Chase’s Calendar of Events” available for checkout at MidPointe Library.
Images from Middletown Journal, June 17 and 19, 1983. Available for viewing on microfilm at MidPointe Library-Middletown.
Today we celebrate the 77th birthday of Paul McCartney (1), the former Beatle who for decades has continued to entertain fans around the world – and in Outer Space.
A musical trailblazer, Paul performed “a special live musical wakeup call...” for NASA Astronaut Bill McArthur and Russian Cosmonaut Valery Tokarev aboard the International Space Station 220 miles above Earth...” It was the “44th day of their six-month mission in Space. (2)
This first-ever concert linkup occurred on November 12, 2005... a ground-breaking feat without the ground.
Therefore, in honor of Paul and international unity, we ask today’s TriviaTuesday question:
What two songs did Paul perform during that historic Earth-to-Space venture?
(Hint: the time of day and appropriate beverage are involved)
During a concert in Anaheim, California, Paul was linked to the International Space Station and performed “Good Day Sunshine” and “English Tea” for NASA Astronaut Bill McArthur and Russian Cosmonaut Valery Tokarev. (2) Apparently the Space travelers had recently awakened and were ready to begin another day’s work!
(1) The 2019 Chase’s Calendar of Events, available for checkout at MidPointe Library.
(2) NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration):
Image from “Today Show” Today.com
If you love all-things-Space and/or music, make MidPointe Library your destination!
Join us now through July 31 for our “Summer Reading Program” for all ages! It’s themed “A Universe of Stories” -- a salute to the men and women whose skill and bravery have put humans on the Moon and so much more.
Stop by any MidPointe location for a taste of Summer and Space :
Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center) and onboard our roving “Library On Wheels,” formerly known as The Bookmobile.
For information about Summer Reading, go to www.midpointelibrary.org > Services > Summer Reading.
A calendar of all MidPointe events is available at: www.midpointelibrary.org > Events
Information is also available by calling any MidPointe branch. Phone numbers and addresses are listed on the front page of our website.
Dads are fantastic!
That’s why we celebrate all of them (including TV dads) today, Sunday, June 16 -- “Father’s Day”!
According to World Book Online, “Father’s Day” was the brainchild of a Spokane, Washington, daughter.
Sonora Louise Smart Dodd wanted to honor her father, William Jackson Smart, who had raised his six children after his wife died in 1898.
She conceived the notion of Father’s Day in 1909 after listening to a sermon on Mother’s Day. With local support, she petitioned for a national day to honor fathers. Her dream became reality when Spokane celebrated the first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon signed Father’s Day into law. *
The rest, as they say, is paternal history.
Most of us have our own personal Dad stories and memories.
So today let’s remember a few of the TV fathers we’ve all shared through the years! They are many in number so we’ll start with a few... Then share the name of your favorite TV dad!
Andy Griffith, aka widower Sheriff Andy Taylor on the “The Andy Griffith Show.” Sheriff Andy’s adorable son was “Opie.”
(Note of interest: Now an esteemed movie director, Ron Howard (Opie) has been seen in Middletown this year working on a movie about former Middletonian J.D. Vance, author of the bestselling book, “Hillbilly Elegy.”)**
Fred MacMurray as Stephen Douglas on “My Three Sons.”
Fred Flintstone of “The Flintstones,” the “modern Stone Age family...” (he’s still a dad, after all...)
Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker, the cantankerous husband/father on the often-controversial “All In The Family.”
Homer Simpson. Need we say more?
Now it’s your turn!
Want to enjoy some golden oldie (and more recent) TV shows? Look to MidPointe Library!
Go to: www.midpointelibrary.org > Catalog Search > DVDs
For downloadable items only, check out our vast e-Library:
www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Movies and TV shows
This site includes “Hoopla” which offers “hundreds of thousands of free movies, TV shows, full music albums, audiobooks, eBooks, comics and more...”
And don’t forget to say “Thank you” to the Dad in your life!
*Information on Sonora Louise Smart Dodd and Father’s Day is from World Book Online/Student available via MidPointe Library:
**“Hillbilly Elegy: a Memoir of a Family and Culture In Crisis” by J.D. Vance is available for checkout at MidPointe Library.
Today is “Flag Day,” when we honor the American flag.
Also known as “Old Glory” and the “Stars and Stripes,” the United States flag has witnessed a lot lo these many years yet it remains the beacon of freedom to the world.
In fact, the flag is so revered that a “flag etiquette” exists to inform the public the correct ways to handle and display the flag, among many other topics.
A simplified version of the list is available in the children’s book, “Who Was Betsy Ross?” by James Buckley Jr.
In addition to a biography of Betsy Ross, who’s been credited throughout history for creating the first American flag, the author has included a brief list of “shoulds” when displaying it. They are a simplification of the much longer and very detailed “United States Flag Code” that is available online.*
The rules in Buckley’s book include:
“Flags should be flown only during daylight hours and never in the rain.
When displayed with state flags, the US flag should be highest.
A flag is flown at half-staff, or only halfway up a pole, to honor the passing of an important person.
When the flag is hung on a wall, the blue field should always be on the left.”
*The entire U.S. Flag Code is available at: http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html
Some historians are skeptical of the Betsy Ross-as-creator-of-the-American flag legend. In “Who Was Betsy Ross” quoted above, author Buckley addresses the issue on page 40:
“There’s a great American legend that Betsy Ross sewed the very first American flag. Is it true? Her family says so! It’s a story that’s become a part of the country’s early history...”
In another children’s book, “The American Flag” by Patricia Ryon Quiri, you’ll find the following:
“...The well-known story about Betsy Ross meeting with George Washington to make the first official flag is very popular among schoolchildren. Although Betsy Ross was a flagmaker, most historians doubt the truth of this story...
“Another person who claimed he made the first Star and Stripes was a New Jersey man named Francis Hopkinson. He had signed the Declaration of Independence. Hopkinson sent a letter to Congress asking to be paid for his flag design. But Congress did not pay him. They felt that many other people had helped design the new flag...
“We will probably never know who created the first official flag of the United States. The important thing is that Americans honor their flag.
“One special way to do this is on Flag Day, celebrated every year on June 14.”
Let’s do what Author Quiri suggests.
Fly your American flag today! Remember, it is yours!
If you’re interested in American history and the story of the American flag, look to MidPointe Library for all your needs.
On-shelf or online, MidPointe offers a vast amount of history items for adults and youth. Go to: www.midpointelibrary.org > Catalog Search (for on-shelf and electronic items)
For a total e-experience, go to: www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Audiobooks > Books > Magazines > Movies and TV shows > Music > Research Databases > Digital Archives.
The complete United States Code/Flag Code is available at: http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html
Accompanying images are:
Astronaut David R. Scott giving a military salute to the flag on the Moon during the Apollo 15 mission August 1, 1971. Credit: NASA/JSC
Photo of the famous painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware” from Wikipedia.
The American flag flying high at MidPointe Library, 125 S. Broad St., Middletown, Ohio
Firefighters with American flag at the scene of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City. From Google Images.
Covers of “Who was Betsy Ross?” and “The American Flag,” both available at MidPointe Library.
On today’s “ThrowBackThursday” blog we honor one of Ohio’s Space pioneers, the late John Glenn.
Ohio is a state of Space pioneers.
After all, the Wright Brothers, whose technical genius led to the “first successful powered airplane in 1903...,” hailed from Dayton, our neighbor to the north. (1)
No wonder, then, that in 1962 the “first American to orbit the Earth” was a Buckeye. Cambridge, Ohio, native John Glenn “named his spacecraft Friendship 7...made three orbits around Earth...[and] spent about five hours in space...,” according to NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). His historic feat “helped NASA learn more” about the effects of being in Space. (2)
As Glenn ascended in his craft that day the mission’s back-up astronaut, Scott Carpenter, uttered the now-famous send-off :
“Godspeed, John Glenn.” (3)
When Glenn returned to Earth, honors poured in from around the world.
Back on Terra Firma Glenn never lost the appetite for an adventure in Space. His philosophy seemed to be “once a Space traveler always a Space traveler.”
He proved that years later. The “first American to orbit the Earth” made history again on October 29, 1998, when he “became the oldest man to fly in space by serving as a payload specialist … aboard the space shuttle Discovery.” (4)
Glenn’s presence in the shuttle helped NASA study the effects of space travel on the aging process. (5)
Back on Terra Firma, John Glenn maintained his tradition of distinguished service to country. For 25 years he represented his fellow Buckeyes in Washington, D.C., as their United States Senator. (6)
Senator Glenn died December 8, 2016, at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus — a Buckeye to the end. (7) The headline in the New York Times announced:
“John Glenn, American Hero of the Space Age, Dies at 95.” (*)
His contributions, those of many other brave astronauts and an Earthbound army of masterminds led to America’s landing on the Moon. Those first human steps (“one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”) belonged to Neil Armstrong. The date was July 20, 1969. (8)
Guess what state Armstrong called home.
Newspaper images are from the February 20, 1962 Middletown Journal and Cambridge, Ohio, Daily Jeffersonian.