Anna Fisher (24 August 1949 – present)
Anna Lee Tingle Fisher is an American chemist and a NASA astronaut. Formerly married to fellow astronaut Bill Fisher, and the mother of two children, in 1984 she became the first mother in space. Fisher is the oldest active American astronaut.During her career at NASA, she has been involved with three major programs: the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station and the Orion project.
Fisher, who still works in management at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, earned a B.S. in chemistry in ‘71 and an M.D. in ’76, before being chosen an astronaut in 1978. Her training class, the first female astronauts recruited by NASA, included Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space, and Judith Resnik, who died when Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed during launch in January 1986.
She assigned to her first flight two weeks before giving birth to her oldest child, Fisher delivered Kristin on a Friday and was back in the office three days later for a Monday meeting.In 1984, on a mission to recover two failed satellites expensively orbiting Earth, Fisher became the first mother to enter space. And if you think that’s no small feat, then you’ve never had a 16-month-old child at home who you weren’t sure you were going to ever see again.
Dr. Fisher has been paired with Ian S. McLean, professor and vice chair of physics & astronomy and director, UCLA Infrared Laboratory for Astrophysics. They will talk about “Watching the Skies: Bruins in Space” on Saturday, May 15.
Fisher’s mission was a success and she was assigned to a second flight, the shuttle that would follow the Challenger disaster. But Fisher and her husband decided to have another daughter and this time Fisher took a leave of absence. She returned seven years later, in 1996, and did some of the testing of the Space Station’s robotic arm before it was transported up.