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Astronaut Guides Women to Reach for the Stars

Young children tend to have many big aspirations.  When asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up,” responses such as a doctor, firefighter, and actor often come up.  The most popular childhood dream is often becoming an astronaut! 

Many children do not know whom Valentina Tereshkova, the first women in space, was.  They also may not know how few women had made this courageous journey.  Despite these factors, they insist that someday, they will fly in space!

Following the 2013 Women Of Aviation Week theme celebrating 50 years of women in space, Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland is hosting ‘Women Fly it Forward’, an event that will reinforce to the female participants that their dreams of becoming pilots and astronauts could someday come true!

Only 56 women have flown in space, Colonel Pamela Melroy is one who has earned that honor.  Colonel Melroy has flown over 5,000 hours in 50 different types of aircraft, with 200 of those in combat situations.  Even more impressive is an additional 924 hours have been earned flying in space!  She has participated in three NASA space shuttle missions.  In 2000 and 2002 Colonel Melroy piloted two of these missions to the International Space Station, the STS-92 and the STS-112, respectively.   In 2007, she returned to the International Space Station as the Commander for the STS-120 mission, becoming one of only two women to command a shuttle mission.   Presently, Colonel Melroy is using her extensive experience as the Director of Field Operations at the Office of Commercial Space Transportation for the FAA.

Thanks to the efforts of the Association of Space Explorers, Pam is excited to be the guest of honor at the Frederick Airport’s Women Fly it Forward event on March 9th.  She will speak with event participants and the public at 11:00am and at 2:00pm.  Following her presentation, there will be time for questions and answers.

If you cannot make it out to Frederick in March, there are many other ways to inspire future astronauts throughout this week!

1.      Host your own event!  If you love aviation and aerospace, why not spread that passion to the community around you?  Need some inspiration?  Request our organizer handout.

2.      Find an event near you to join!  New events are added on the Women Of Aviation Week website daily.

3.      Females ages 13 through 19 are invited to enter the ‘You are an inventor’ contest.  Finalists inventions will be exhibited in museums around the world.  The grand prize is a one-on-one conversation with an astronaut!

Many adults will still openly admit, as they look into the sky, that they wonder what it would feel to see the Earth from so many miles above.  Participants at Women Fly it Forward will no longer have to wonder, Colonel Pam Melroy and Frederick Municipal Airport will guide them to reach for the stars!

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