Kathryn Sullivan – Space Walker

KATHRYN SULLIVAN          Kathryn Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space, was one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2014. This recognition came from her work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where she is now Administrator as well as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in earth sciences and a Ph.D. in geology, Dr. Kathryn Sullivan was selected as one of the first women astronauts. In addition to being the first woman to walk in space, she was also on the mission that deployed the Hubble telescope. During her three shuttle missions, she logged over 532 hours in space.

During her space missions she conducted scientific experiments, combining her love of flying with her academic background. An accomplished oceanographer, Dr. Sullivan has a wide range of expertise. She has worked on mapping services, satellites, space weather, ocean observations, fisheries biology, satellite instrumentation, marine biodiversity, and climate change.

When President Obama nominated her for her current Under Secretary position, she was confirmed unanimously by the Senate, a rarity in today’s usually partisan Congress. In the article about her in Time magazine John Glenn, former astronaut, and United States Senator, said, “Kathy is not just an ivory-tower scientist. She is “one of the smartest people around when it comes to earth sciences.” Because of the increase in weather changes in our world, he proclaims her the “right person for the right job at the right time.”

Dr. Sullivan is a woman of both air and water. Her achievements in both fields have been recognized with many awards, but perhaps the best example of her wide-ranging abilities came in 2004. In that year, she was entered into the Astronaut Hall of Fame and received the Adler Planetarium Women in Space Science Award.


for descriptions of her NASA space missions: http://www.astronautix.com/astros/sullivan.htm

for more on her work at NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov/sullivan.html

for more on the Time 100: http://time.com/time100-2014/


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