NASA was an exclusively male work place for a long time, but that is changing. The first all-female spacewalk at the International Space Station was carried out in October of 2019 and many other milestones have already been accomplished by female astronauts. But there has yet to be a first woman on the moon (or on Mars), and since NASA is planning to return astronauts to the moon soon, some female members of the newest cohort graduating last week might just be the ones to achieve those firsts.
The first women to enter and graduate from NASA astronaut class were Sally Ride, Anna Fisher, Judith Resnik, Kathryn Sullivan, Margaret Rhea and Shannon Lucid, who entered the program in 1978. According to NASA and Collect Space, the number of women admitted to the program has risen, in total and as a share of aspiring astronauts. Ride became the first American woman in space, after cosmonauts Valentina Tereshkova and Svetlana Savitskaya. Fisher became the first mother to fly in space. Resnik tragically died in the 1986 Challenger explosion.
While the new graduating cohort has a 45/55 percent (5 women, 7 men) split in favor of men (after one male also quit during training), 2013 saw the first, albeit small, gender equal astronaut cohort, with four men and four women starting NASA astronaut training.