1960s: First American female astronauts - The Mercury 13 [also Mercury 13 and Mercury 13 and Mercury 13] were NASA female astronauts tested for the same physical and psychological conditions that America's original Mercury 7 male astronauts endured. However, the Mercury 13 were not assigned to space duty.[more...]
1982: Second woman in space, second woman in orbit - USSR cosmonaut Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya [also Svetlana Savitskaya and Svetlana Savitskaya] flew to the USSR's Salyut 7 space station August 19, 1982.
1983: First American woman in space, first American woman in orbit - Dr. Sally Kristen Ride rode in shuttle Challenger June 18, 1983. She rode Challenger to space again, a year later, and was training for a third flight when Challenger exploed during liftoff on January 28, 1986. More than three dozen women have flown on U.S. space shuttles since Sally Ride's first trip.
1984: First woman to take a spacewalk - USSR cosmonaut Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya
1984: First woman to go to space twice - Svetlana Savitskaya flew to the Salyut 7 space station in August 1982 and again in July 1984.
1984: First American woman to go to space twice - Sally Ride rode twice in Challenger, in June 1983 and October 1984.
1984: First American woman to take a spacewalk - Dr Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan
1984: First women together in space - Kathryn Sullivan and Sally Ride flew together in shuttle Challenger in October 1984.
1984: First mother in space - Dr. Anna Lee Tingle Fisher, M.D., flew in shuttle Discovery in November 1984.
1986: First women to die during spaceflight - Dr. Judith Arlene Resnik and Mrs. Sharon Christa McAuliffe [also Christa McAuliffe] were aboard shuttle Challenger when it was launched January 28, 1986. The entire crew of that flight died when the shuttle exploded during lift-off. Selected from 11,000 profesional educator applicants, Christa McAuliffe would have been the first teacher in space.
1989: First woman on a U.S. military flight - Dr. Kathryn Ryan Cordell Thornton flew aboard shuttle Discovery on a secret mission in November 1989. Later, in 1992, she flew on the maiden flight of the new shuttle Endeavour, which replaced Challenger.
1992: First black woman in space - U.S. astronaut Dr Mae Carol Jemison.
1995: First woman to pilot a space shuttle - U.S. astronaut Eileen Marie Collins. Four years later, she would be the first woman space shuttle commander.
1996: Space endurance record for women and overall U.S. space endurance record - U.S. astronaut Dr Shannon Matilda Wells Lucid in six months aboard the Russian space station Mir. Altogether, Shannon Lucid spent 223 days in space during five space flights, including 188 days aboard Mir space station in 1996. She was the first American to take a spacewalk at Mir. (By comparison, even though the stay in space in 2001 for U.S. astronaut Susan Helms and her two fellow International Space Station Expedition 2 crew members was extended by almost a month because of problems with the robot arm, it still was three weeks shy of NASA's space endurance record.)
1997: Russian woman with most time in space - cosmonaut Yelena Vladimirovna Kondakova flew a total of 178 days, including 169 days aboard space station Mir in 1994 and nine days in a U.S. shuttle flight to Mir in 1997.
2001: First woman crew member of the International Space Station - U.S. astronaut Susan Jane Helms. She stayed there 165 days bringing her total in space to 210 days during five flights. She also was the first female amateur radio operator to communicate directly with hams on the ground via amateur radio from the space station.
2002: First ISS science officer, first woman to spacewalk at the space station - To highlight ISS research, Dr. Peggy A. Whitson, a biochemist, became the station's first resident scientist when she flew as part of the Expedition 5 crew. It was her first spaceflight and Dr. Whitson logged 184 days in space. Dr. Whitson ventured outside on August 16 for an EVA of 4 hours 25 minutes to install micrometeoroid shielding. As science officer, she conducted 21 investigations in human life sciences, microgravity sciences and commercial payloads.
2003: Second women to die during spaceflight - Dr. Kalpana Chawla and Dr. Laurel Clark were aboard shuttle Columbia when it disintegrated over Texas on February 1, 2003. The entire crew of seven died.