Encyclopedia Astronautica

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Jemison, Dr Mae Carol (1956-) African-American physician mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-47. Physician. First African-American woman to fly in space.

Grew up in Chicago, Illinois. Educated Stanford; Cornell.

Official NASA Biography

NAME: Mae C. Jemison (M.D.)

NASA Astronaut

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama, but considers Chicago, Illinois, to be her hometown. Her parents, Charlie & Dorothy Jemison, reside in Chicago.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Black hair; brown eyes; 5 feet 9 inches; 140 pounds.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Morgan Park High School, Chicago, Illinois, in 1973; received a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University in 1977 (also fulfilled the requirements for a B.A. in african and afro-American Studies), and a doctorate in medicine degree from Cornell University in 1981.


RECREATIONAL INTERESTS: She enjoys traveling, graphic arts, photography, sewing, skiing, collecting African Art, languages (Russian, Swahili, Japanese), weight training, has an extensive dance and exercise background, and is an avid reader.

ORGANIZATIONS: Member, American Medical Association and American Chemical Society. Honorary member, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; Member, Association for the Advancement of Science; Board Member, World Sickle Cell Foundation; Honorary Board Member, Center for the Prevention of Childhood Malnutrition.

SPECIAL HONORS: National Achievement Scholarship (1973-1977); Stanford representative to Carifesta '76 in Jamaica; 1979 CIBA Award for Student Involvement; American Medical Student Association (AMSA) study group to Cuba; Grant from International Travelers Institute for health studies in rural Kenya (1979); organized New York city-wide health and law fair for National Student Medical Association (1979); worked refugee camp in Thailand (1980). Recipient of Essence Award (1988), and Gamma Sigma Gamma Woman of the Year (1989).

EXPERIENCE: Dr. Jemison has a background in both engineering and medical research. She has worked in the areas of computer programming, printed wiring board materials, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, computer magnetic disc production and evaluation of trophic factors for rat epididymides.

Dr. Jemison completed her internship at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center in July 1982 and worked as a General Practitioner with INA/Ross Loos Medical Group in Los Angeles until December 1982.

From January 1983 thru June 1985, Dr. Jemison was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa. Her task of managing the health care delivery system for U.S. Peace Corps and U.S. Embassy personnel included provision of medical care, supervision of the pharmacy and laboratory, medical administrative issues, and supervision of medical staff. She developed curriculum for and taught volunteer personal health training, wrote manuals for self care, developed and implemented guidelines for public health/safety issues for volunteer job placement and training sites. Dr. Jemison developed and participated in research projects on Hepatitis B vaccine, schistosomaisis and rabies in conjunction with the National Institute of Health and the Center for Disease Control.

On return to the United States, Dr. Nemison joined CIGNA Health Plans of California in October 1985 and was working as a General Practitioner and attending graduate engineering classes in Los Angeles when selected to the astronaut program.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in June 1987, Dr. Jemison completed a one-year training and evaluation program in August 1988. She is qualified for assignment as a mission specialist on Space Shuttle flight crews. Her technical assignments to date have included: astronaut office representative to the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, which involved participation in the processing of the Space Shuttle for launch, especially its payloads and thermal protection system (tiles), and launch countdown; work in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL) performing verification of Shuttle computer software.

CURRENT ASSIGNMENT: Dr. Jemison is assigned as a mission specialist on STS-47, Spacelab-J. This cooperative mission between the United States and Japan, to conduct experiments in life sciences and materials processing, is scheduled for launch in September 1992.

MAY 1992

Birth Place: African, Alabama.
Status: Inactive.

Born: 1956.10.17.
Spaceflights: 1 .
Total time in space: 7.94 days.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • NASA Group 12 - 1987 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: The Gaffers (acronym for 'George Abbey Final Fifteen' - the last group selected with George Abbey as Director of Flight Crew Operations). The class motto: 'What's the rush?' since there was expected to be along wait for flights after the Challenger disaste More...

Associated Flights
  • STS-47 Crew: Apt, Brown, Davis, Gibson, Jemison, Lee, Mohri. First on-time Shuttle launch since November 1985. First Japanese astronaut aboard shuttle. First African-American woman to fly in space. First married couple to fly on the same space mission Carried Spacelab-J with microgravity and biology experiments. More...

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Jemison Chronology

1987 June 5 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 12 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Akers; Allen, Andy; Bowersox; Brown; Chilton; Davis; Foale; Harbaugh; Jemison; McMonagle; Melnick; Readdy; Reightler; Runco; Voss. The group was selected to provide pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights.. Qualifications: Pilots: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. Advanced degree desirable. At least 1,000 flight-hours of pilot-in-command time. Flight test experience desirable. Excellent health. Vision minimum 20/50 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 vision; maximum sitting blood pressure 140/90. Height between 163 and 193 cm.

    Mission Specialists: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics and minimum three years of related experience or an advanced degree. Vision minimum 20/150 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20. Maximum sitting blood pressure of 140/90. Height between 150 and 193 cm.. First selection after the Challenger accident. 1962 applicants, 117 finalists. Reported to Johnson Space Center on August 17, 1987, to begin their one year training. Seven pilots and eight mission specialists. Two female mission specialists, including the first black woman astronaut. Ten military officers and five civilians (including three from NASA Johnson and one from NASA Marshall).

1992 September 12 - . 14:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-47.
  • STS-47 - . Call Sign: Endeavour. Crew: Apt; Brown; Davis; Gibson; Jemison; Lee; Mohri. Payload: Endeavour F02 / Spacelab-J. Mass: 12,772 kg (28,157 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Apt; Brown; Davis; Gibson; Jemison; Lee; Mohri. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-47. Spacecraft: Endeavour. Duration: 7.94 days. Decay Date: 1992-09-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 22120 . COSPAR: 1992-061A. Apogee: 310 km (190 mi). Perigee: 297 km (184 mi). Inclination: 57.0000 deg. Period: 90.60 min. Manned seven crew. Carried Spacelab-J with microgravity and biology experiments. Payloads: Spacelab-J, nine getaway special canister experiments, Israel Space Agency Investigation About Hornets (ISAIAH), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) II, Solid Surface Combus-tion Experiment (SSCE).

1992 September 20 - .
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