Anna Lee Fisher

“When [the main rockets] go off you may not know where you’re going, but you know you’re going somewhere.” —  Anna Lee Fisher

Dr Anna Lee Fisher (1949—) is a chemist, a medical doctor, and a NASA astronaut. In 1978, she was among the first group of six women to be selected as astronauts. In 1984, year after her first daughter was born, she became the “First Mother in Space” when she flew on the STS-51A mission. The crew’s flight patch was designed with six stars: five representing each of the crew members, and one star for her daughter.  In 1988, she took a Dr. Fisher decided to take an seven-year leave 1988 to raise her two daughters, but she went back to work with NASA again for other important missions. Talk about a Super Mom! And she’s still working, the oldest working astronaut in America.

Here is part of a great interview with Anna Lee Fisher:

“I was eight and a half months pregnant with my first daughter. My husband became an astronaut the year after me, and so when I got selected, our boss called us both into his office. He said they wanted to put me onto this flight, and how did we feel since I was having a baby? Of course I’m not going to say no. I delivered Kristen about two weeks later, on a Friday. The following Monday I showed up for the weekly astronauts meeting. I felt like I was making a statement that yes, I had a baby, but I’m here and I’m going to do my job. I never took a formal leave of absence. My schedulers tried to bunch all my training onto one or two days a week, and then I would have some days off for the first four to six weeks.”

And on her extended leave of absence later on:

“It was definitely rare. I think the reason I was allowed to do that was my boss at the time, George Abbey, wound up raising his own five children pretty much by himself. He was a much more sympathetic boss because he understood how hard it is to raise kids.”

“I do remember somebody from Europe asked me how being the arm operator on my flight helped me be a better mom. I was really stumped by that question.”

 

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