It takes a set of highly skilled and educated individuals to send a rocket into space. But in today’s field of space exploration, it takes just as much skill and education for the rocket’s recovery.
Male-dominated crews carry out most of these recovery missions, but not anymore.
Along with several other milestones responsible for revolutionizing this new era of space exploration, SpaceX celebrated yet another important accomplishment on the ground, or at sea, rather.
On March 14, the privately owned corporation successfully launched CRS-27, an unmanned mission intended to deliver important experiments and supplies to the astronauts working on the International Space Station (ISS).
While the mission itself may just seem like a standard one on the surface, it marked a special milestone for all the women working at SpaceX.
Missed the live launch? You could still watch it from SpaceX’s YouTube channel below.
Packed up inside the Dragon capsule, the crew sent up the cargo supplies on SpaceX’s infamous Falcon 9 rocket used in previous missions.
About two and a half minutes post launch, both parted ways in what’s called “Stage Separation.” The Dragon capsule continued on its trajectory toward the ISS as Falcon 9 made its way back down toward the earth’s surface.
Less than 10 minutes after blasting off from Cape Canaveral, Falcon 9 successfully landed for the seventh time- all thanks to an intelligent group of women.
It marked the first time that an all-female crew performed the recovery operations. They landed the Falcon 9 safely on the drone ship A Shortfall Gravitas, located out in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
This not only marked an incredible moment for all women but also for SpaceX and those working in the industry itself.
Recovering recognition in a male-dominated field
As opposed to the more-gloried blast off, the trip back to earth is just as important to SpaceX.
The corporation, known for its reusable rockets, became the first in the field to master both launch and landing operations. You can contribute a large part of its success to its recovery operations crews.
The tasks and jobs assigned to the recovery teams vary greatly, ranging from those operating both the recovery vessel and the drone ship, to the engineers responsible for ensuring that all is a go for landing the rocket safely.
Despite the differences between each role, there is one constant: many of the positions are onboard require a STEM-related degree.
Even though the percentage of women with a STEM-related profession continues to climb, men still make up the majority, which also holds true for workers involved in recovery operations.
SpaceX isn’t the first to shine a spotlight on the all-women movement, either.
During the National Anthem, the Super Bowl LVII flyover featured an all-female crew of navy fighter pilots in honor of women serving as pilots in the U.S. Navy over the last 50 years.
While all female crews are still rare in a lot of fields, more companies, like SpaceX, have made strides to raise better awareness of women in the workplace, especially those in male-dominated industries.
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