Elizabeth Pellegrino

Where a Boundary


So many of us have this idea of what a space mission would look like to another planet or to an asteroid. And it’s a crew of mostly men and maybe a woman, you know, because that’s what Hollywood tells us these missions look like.

It’s fantastic to just turn it upside-down and conceive of an all-female crew. And what would that actually be like? And if it saves money, then maybe it should be worth discussing.

Kate Greene
“For Mars Missions, Sending More Women Might Make Economical Sense”

I remember the engineers trying to decide how many tampons should fly on a one-week flight; they asked, “Is 100 the right number?”

“No. That would not be the right number.”

They said, “Well, we want to be safe.”

I said, “Well, you can cut that in half with no problem at all.” [Laughter]

And there were probably some other, similar sorts of issues, just because they had never thought about what just kind of personal equipment a female astronaut would take. They knew that a man might want a shaving kit, but they didn’t know what a woman would carry. Most of these were male engineers, so this was totally new and different to them.

Sally Ride
“NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project, Edited Oral History Transcript.”