On This Day, Jan. 13, 1978: NASA Hires First Female Astronauts


On January 13, 1978, NASA selected its eighth and most diverse class of astronauts yet. The Astronaut Class of 1978, also known as the “Thirty-Five New Guys,” included the first six female astronauts: Shannon W. Lucid, Margaret Rhea Seddon, Kathryn D. Sullivan, Judith A. Resnik, Anna L. Fisher, and Sally K. Ride.



One of those women, Sally Ride became the first American woman to fly in space in 1983. That same year, Guy Bluford became the first African-American man to fly to space. Their classmate Judith Resnik became the first Jewish-American in space in 1984, and Ellison Onizuka became the first Asian-American in space in 1985.

This astronaut class was unlike any that came before it and kicked off a new era of diversity in space exploration.

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