The ISS Expedition 52 Flight Engineers – Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer and Randy Bresnik of NASA conducted a question-and-answer session with the agency’s newest class of astronauts during an in-flight orientation session with the new members. During the discussion they talked about the challenges they face women as astronauts and how they overcome those.
Women played several key roles in NASA’s history. They had around 60 different women total including cosmonauts, astronauts, payload specialists, and foreign nationals have flown in space. 2013 Astronaut Classes had 4 women and 2017 class has 5 women.
During this interview, several team members talked about what it means to be women in this field as well as advice to get there.
Jessica Watkins, one of 2017 astronauts asked question to Peggy Whitson, ISS Commander for advice. Peggy said “You’re going to find in the first few years is that you know there’s a lot of things you won’t understand but it’s okay to ask but understand and make you make your ideas known as well too”, she added “You’ll be seeing things that you think well why don’t we fix this or why don’t we fix that we’ll take some responsibility and help people fix it come up with solutions”
During Q and A session, one of the audience asked “advice for women emerging in STEM field”. Jasmin Moghbeli 2017 class astronaut said, “These fields where that are male-dominated for the most part but that being said I think the best thing that helped me was not focusing on that at all try to excel and everything you do”.
Kayla Barron 2017 class astronaut added “Don’t be afraid to fail. I was choosing to study engineering choosing to go in the submarine warfare community, you might feel like a spotlights on you because there aren’t as many women in your field and that people are paying a little bit more attention to your performance and how you’re doing and I think if you just focus on being part of a team and contributing people really take that on board and try to support you and then when you do fail or falter you’ll have people around you to help you move on from that and continue”
Video snippet of the discussion –