Who: Margaret Rhea Seddon
- Rhea was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, November 8, 1947 (age 74 as of this post)
- B.A. in physiology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970
- Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in 1973
- Married to former astronaut Robert L. Gibson of Cooperstown, New York
- They had four children.
- Selected by NASA as a possible astronaut — January 1978
- Was aboard three flights — 1985 (Discovery), 1991 (Columbia), and 1993 (Columbia)
- She was the payload commander on her third flight in 1993
- She spent 19 years with NASA
- Retired from NASA in 1997
- In 2015 she was inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame
What: One of the first of six women astronauts in U.S. history
“I don’t think I necessarily did it to be a pioneer,” she says. “There were things I wanted to do, and to a certain extent, I was curious to know whether or not women could be successful in those fields.”
“Many times I thought, ‘I’m not going to be able to do this. But I figured I could try and maybe figure out how to do it in a slightly different way or kind of go around the roadblock.”
Among the many roadblocks for the smallest astronaut in the program was the parachute so big Seddon would have fallen out had it not been refitted and the man-sized spacesuit that was too costly to adjust.
“Sometimes, you have to dream big and apply where you don’t think you’re going to get in, but you have to try and don’t be afraid to go first.”
“Carolyn Huntoon helped us get through it. She was there to advise. We would get together with her periodically and ask about, “How do you get ahead in this organization and what are the things you need to not do?” One of her I think words of wisdom was, “The most important thing that you can do here is to use good judgment. Whatever you do, use good judgment,” because if you do dumb stuff and off-the-wall stuff and things that you shouldn’t be doing, NASA doesn’t appreciate that. Whether it’s public or no one in the public knows it, but we know you did it, it could go against you. I think that proved to be so over the course of time.” — oral history
In her book, she states . . . . .
I looked up at the rocket that awaited me, gleaming huge, ungainly and pristine white in the pre-dawn darkness. . . . I had only moments to take it all in. It was the first time I stood next to a shuttle ready to launch . . . There are moments in each life that change everything. “Will you marry me?” “You’ve been accepted.” “You’re pregnant.” If I survived the launch of this vehicle, I would become one of the fewer than ten women in history of humankind who had ventured into the halls of space. . . .
The fullness of my life had brought me to this moment. All the unlikely roads taken, the risks addressed, the difficulties overcome had led to this. . . . We would sit atop the harnessed bomb until its fuse was lit. This was the culmination of years of preparation; there could be no turning back. How in heaven’s name had I gotten here? . . . .
My father would have preferred that I pursue a degree in law to be able to take over his practice and run his business. . . . Isn’t it funny how little things can send you down an important pathway in life? In my hometown, Rutherford County Hospital was opening its first Coronary Care Unit, of CCU, the summer after my freshman year at Berkley . . . . . It was all arranged that I would be a summer aide in the new Intensive Care Unit . . . . The problem was the unit’s opening was delayed, and I was redirected into the surgical suite and fell in love with surgery. . . .
[see pdf of three pages from her book which also make that point]
In an interview, Rhea Seddon states . . .
Key Biblical Thoughts:
- coming back home
- good judgment
- the little things of life
- God’s will
Sermonic Example: There are several distinct ways to use illustrative material. This sermonic example will employ the second method of introductory illustrations — method #2.
(use whatever you find useful in the above details)
. . . . In an interview, Rhea Seddon says this about one of her most exhilarating moments as an astronaut. . .
NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project