Women in Space - Timeline

A Chronology of Women Astronauts, Cosmonauts, and Other Space Pioneers

Shannon Lucid, Margaret Rhea Seddon, Kathryn Sullivan, Judith Resnik, Anna Fisher, Sally Ride
Shannon W. Lucid, Margaret Rhea Seddon, Kathryn D. Sullivan, Judith A. Resnik, Anna L. Fisher, and Sally K. Ride. Courtesy NASA

1959 - Jerrie Cobb selected for testing for the Mercury astronaut training program.

1962 - Though Jerrie Cobb and 12 other women (the Mercury 13) passed astronaut admission tests, NASA decides not to select any women. Congressional hearings include testimony by Cobb and others, including Senator Philip Hart, husband of one of the Mercury 13.

1962 - The Soviet Union recruited five women to become cosmonauts.

1963 - June - Valentina Tereshkova, cosmonaut from the USSR, becomes the first woman in space. She flew Vostok 6, orbiting the earth 48 times, and was in space nearly three day.

1978 - Six women chosen as astronaut candidates by NASA: Rhea Seddon, Kathryn Sullivan, Judith Resnik, Sally Ride, Anna Fisher and Shannon Lucid.  Lucid, already a mother, is questioned about the effect of her work on her children.

1982 - Svetlana Savitskaya, USSR cosmonaut, becomes the second woman in space, flying aboard the Soyuz T-7.

1983 - June - Sally Ride, American astronaut, becomes the first American woman in space, the third woman in space. She was a member of the crew on STS-7, space shuttle Challenger.

1984 - July - Svetlana Savitskaya, USSR cosmonaut, becomes first woman to walk in space and the first woman to fly in space two times.

1984 - August - Judith Resnik becomes the first Jewish American in space.

1984 - October - Kathryn Sullivan, American astronaut, becomes first American woman to walk in space.

1984 - August - Anna Fisher becomes the first person to retrieve a malfunctioning satellite, using the orbiter remote manipulator arm. She was also the first human mother to travel in space.

1985 - October - Bonnie J. Dunbar made her first of five flights on a space shuttle. She flew again in 1990, 1992, 1995 and 1998.

1985 - November - Mary L. Cleave made her first flight of two into space (the other was in 1989).

1986 - January - Judith Resnik and Christa McAuliffe were the women among the crew of seven to die on the space shuttle Challenger when it exploded.  Christa McAuliffe, a schoolteacher, was the first non-government civilian to fly on the space shuttle.

1989: October - Ellen S. Baker flew on STS-34, her first flight. She also flew on STS-50 in 1992 and STS-71 in 1995.

1990 - January - Marsha Ivins makes her first of five space shuttle flights.

1991 - April - Linda M. Godwin makes her first of four flights on the space shuttle.

1991 - May - Helen Sharman became the first British citizen to walk in space and the second woman aboard a space station (Mir).

1991 - June - Tamara Jernigan makes her first of five flights in space.  Millie Hughes-Fulford becomes the first female payload specialist.

1992 - January - Roberta Bondar becomes the first Canadian woman in space, flying on U.S. space shuttle mission STS-42.

1992 - May - Kathryn Thornton, the second woman to walk in space, was also the first woman to make multiple walks in space (May 1992, and twice in 1993).

1992 - June/July - Bonnie Dunbar and Ellen Baker are among the first American crew to dock with the Russian space station.

1992 - September STS-47 - Mae Jemison becomes first African American woman in space.  Jan Davis, on her first flight, with her husband, Mark Lee, become the first married couple to flly in space together.

1993 - January - Susan J. Helms flew on the first of her five space shuttle missions.

1993 - April - Ellen Ochoa becomes first Hispanic American woman in space. She flew three more missions.

1993 - June - Janice E. Voss flew her first of five missions.  Nancy J. Currie flew her first of four missions.

1994 - July - Chiaki Mukai becomes the first Japanese woman in space, on U.S. space shuttle mission STS-65. She flew again in 1998 on STS-95.

1994 - October - Yelena Kondakova flew her first of two missions to the Mir Space Station.

1995 - February - Eileen Collins becomes the first woman to pilot a space shuttle. She flew three more missions, in 1997, 1999 and 2005.

1995 - March - Wendy Lawrence flew the first of four missions on the space shuttle.

1995 - July - Mary Weber flew the first of two space shuttle missions.

1995 - October - Cahterine Coleman flew her first of three missions, two on the U.S. space shuttle and, in 2010, one on Soyuz.

1996 - March - Linda M. Godwin becomes the fourth woman to walk in space, making another walk later in 2001.

1996 - August - Claudie Haigneré Claudie Haigneréthe first French woman in space. She flew two missions on Soyuz, the second in 2001.

1996 - September - Shannon Lucid returns from her six months on Mir, the Russian space station, with a record for the time in space for women and for Americans -- she is also the first woman to be awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. She was the first American woman to fly on a space station. She was the first woman to make three, four and five space flights.

1997 - April - Susan Still Kilrain became the second female shuttle pilot.  She also flew in July 1997.

1997 - May - Yelena Kondakova becomes the first Russian woman to travel on the U.S. space shuttle.

1997 - November - Kalpana Chawla becomes the first Indian American woman in space.

1998 - April - Kathryn P. Hire flew her first of two missions.

1998 - May - Nearly 2/3 of the flight control team for STS-95 were women, including the launch commentator, Lisa Malone, the ascent commentator, Eileen Hawley, the flight directory, Linda Harm, and the communicator between crew and mission control, Susan Still.

1998 - December - Nancy Currie completes the first task in assembling the International Space Station.

1999 - May - Tamara Jernigan, on her fifth space flight, becomes the fifth woman to walk in space.

1999 - July - Eileen Collins becomes the first woman to command a space shuttle.

2001 - March - Susan J. Helms becomes the sixth woman to walk in space.

2003 - January - Kalpana Chawla and Laurel B. Clark die among the crew in the Columbia disaster aboard STS-107.  It was Clark's first mission.

2006 - September - Anousheh Ansara, on board for a Soyuz mission, becomes the first Iranian in space and the first female space tourist.

2007 - When Tracy Caldwell Dyson flies her first US space shuttle mission in August, she becomes the first astronaut in space who was born after the Apollo 11 flight.  She flew in 2010 on the Soyuz, becoming the 11th woman to walk in space.

2008 - Yi So-yeon becomes the first Korean in space.

2012 - China's first female astronaut, Liu Yang, flies in space.  Wang Yaping becomes the second the following year.

2014 - Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, carried an Olympic flag in the Winter Olympics.

2014 -  Yelena Serova becomes the first woman cosmonaut to visit the International Space Station. Samantha Cristoforetti becomes the first Italian woman in space and the first Italian woman on the International Space Station.

This timeline © Jone Johnson Lewis.

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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Women in Space - Timeline." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/women-in-space-timeline-3528465. Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2023, April 5). Women in Space - Timeline. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/women-in-space-timeline-3528465 Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Women in Space - Timeline." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/women-in-space-timeline-3528465 (accessed May 30, 2023).