Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the space press arena, NASA’s PR machine is in high gear touting their latest “success”.
Chicks in charge.
I kid you not. The big accomplishment? That for the first time in history, a woman is in charge of the STS and another in charge of the ISS – at the same time!
As many of you no doubt are aware, I’m one of the first ones to call BS when the private alt.space community bangs their “we can do it better than NASA, just give us the money” drum. However, in this case, the private sector is right – they’ve had women in charge of BIG companies for years – think Carly at HP for a recent (if somewhat unfortunate) example. Sure, there’s still a glass ceiling in many respects in the private sector, but it has been cracked a few times.
This is certainly an accomplishment for both Colonel Pamela Melroy (STS commander) and Peggy Whitson, Station Commander – and they should be recognized for all they have achieved (my feelings about the manned space program notwithstanding). But making a deal out of the “grand alignment” of TWO women commanders at the same time – well, it just smacks of how far mighty NASA has fallen that they are grasping at virtually any straw to make the space program seem interesting or relevant.
If you think I’m wrong about this desperation, allow me to present exhibits A and B:
What is perhaps sadder is that the mainstream space media is lapping this silliness up, accepting that it is in fact newsworthy (rather than say an interesting feature on EITHER of the two female astronauts, based on their individual accomplishments). More so, the ridiculous PR releases coming out from the alt.space community congratulating NASA and leaving the neanderthal era.
I guess anything to distract from the last few notable news events concerning infamous activities of astronauts (drinking, stalking, kidnapping, you know…) is considered a good thing. Personally, I just think it’s sad….
*note – if I’ve offended any feminists with my choice of title for this post, let me suggest you should be more offended by the time it has taken NASA to join the rest of the US in treating women as people and not the fairer sex.