Mae Jemison

Mae Carol Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American engineerphysician, and former NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Jemison joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 1987 and was selected to serve for the STS-47 mission, during which she orbited the Earth for nearly eight days on September 12–20, 1992.

Mae Jemison in Space

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”

Mae Jemison

African-American NASA astronaut Mae Jemison, 1991.

African-American NASA astronaut Mae Jemison, 1991. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Ted Talk on Teaching the Arts & Sciences Together

Mae Jemison: Teach arts and sciences together

Mae Jemison is an astronaut, a doctor, an art collector, a dancer … Telling stories from her own education and from her time in space, she calls on educators to teach both the arts and sciences, both intuition and logic, as one — to create bold thinkers.

Medical Career

Jemison attended Cornell Medical School and during her training, traveled to Cuba, to conduct a study funded by American Medical Student Association and to Thailand, where she worked at a Cambodian refugee camp.[23][21] She also worked for Flying Doctors stationed in East Africa.[21] During her years at Cornell, Jemison continued to study dance by enrolling in classes at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.[13] After graduating with an M.D. degree in 1981, she interned at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in 1982, and worked as a general practitioner for Ross–Loos Medical Group.[1][21]

Jemison joined the staff of the Peace Corps in 1983 and served as a medical officer until 1985. She was responsible for the health of Peace Corps volunteers serving in Liberia and Sierra Leone.[20][1] Jemison supervised the Peace Corps’ pharmacy, laboratory, medical staff as well as providing medical care, writing self-care manuals, and developing and implementing guidelines for health and safety issues. She also worked with the Centers for Disease Control helping with research for various vaccines.[24]


Space Career

Upon returning to the United States after serving in the Peace Corps, Jemison settled in Los AngelesCalifornia. In Los Angeles, she entered into private practice and took graduate level engineering courses. The flights of Sally Ride and Guion Bluford in 1983 inspired Jemison to apply to the astronaut program.[4] Jemison first applied to NASA’s astronaut training program in October 1985, but NASA postponed selection of new candidates after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. Jemison reapplied in 1987 and was chosen out of roughly 2,000 applicants to be one of the fifteen people in the NASA Astronaut Group 12, the first group selected following the destruction of Challenger.[11][25

STS-47 carried the Spacelab Japan module, a cooperative mission between the United States and Japan that included 43 Japanese and United States life science and materials processing experiments.[30] Jemison and Japanese astronaut Mamoru Mohri were trained to use the Autogenic Feedback Training Exercise (AFTE),[38] a technique developed by Patricia S. Cowings that uses biofeedback and autogenic training to help patients monitor and control their physiology as a possible treatment for motion sicknessanxiety and stress-related disorders.[39][40]

Aboard the Spacelab Japan module, Jemison tested NASA’s Fluid Therapy System, a set of procedures and equipment to produce water for injection, developed by Sterimatics Corporation. She then used IV bags and a mixing method, developed by Baxter Healthcare, to use the water from the previous step to produce saline solution in space.[41] Jemison was also a co-investigator of two bone cell research experiments.[24] Another experiment she participated in was to induce female frogs to ovulate, fertilize the eggs and then see how tadpoles developed in zero gravity.[42

Post NASA Career

Jemison left NASA in 1993 and founded a technology research company. She later formed a non-profit educational foundation and through the foundation is the principal of the 100 Year Starship project funded by DARPA. Jemison also wrote several books for children and appeared on television several times, including in a 1993 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Astronaut Mae Jemison With Nichelle Nichols On The Set Of Star Trek: The Next Generation



She holds several honorary doctorates and has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the International Space Hall of Fame.

“Mae Jemison.” Wikipedia, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

Mae Jemison
Oregon State University, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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