Mary Cleave obituary commemorates a groundbreaking astronaut, the first woman to fly on a NASA space shuttle after Challenger.
She made history as the first woman to fly on a NASA space shuttle following the Challenger disaster and passed away at the age of 76.
NASA confirmed her death on Wednesday, although the cause wasn’t bared.
Cleave was a remarkable figure celebrated for pioneering space exploration contributions.
During her tenure with NASA, she accomplished historic feats, breaking barriers and inspiring many.
Her dedication to science, exploration, and environmentalism earned her widespread respect.
- Also read: Brad Hardison Obituary: How Did He Die?
Who was Mary Cleave?
Mary Cleave was born in Southampton, New York, on February 5, 1947.
A gifted student, Cleave studied biological sciences at Colorado State University.
Before earning her master’s in microbial ecology and a doctorate in civil and environmental engineering from Utah State University.
She was enamored with flying and earned her pilot’s license before her driver’s license.
She saw an announcement at a original post office stating that NASA was searching for scientists to join the astronaut fraternity and applied.
Moreover, she was named in 1980 and made history as the first woman to fly on a space shuttle charge since the Challenger disaster.
Mary Cleave Obituary details
Cleave made her first mission into space in 1985, flying on NASA’s Space Shuttle Atlantis and becoming the 10th woman ever to travel into space.
She was a flight engineer and helped operate the shuttle’s robotic arm.
In 1989, she went on her second flight, STS-30, also on Atlantis.
After NASA reverted to flying all-male crews for three missions after the Challenger explosion.
Cleave was known for downplaying the “firsts” she marked as a female astronaut, emphasizing to women that the focus should always be on their jobs.
She was also part of a historic first when she served on NASA mission control’s CapCom as Sally Ride became the first woman to travel to space on the STS-7 mission in 1983.
Cleave spent more than ten days in orbit throughout her two shuttle missions.
Cleave was assigned to another flight after STS-30 but became increasingly concerned about environmental issues during four years on the ground between her first two missions.
She could see the planet changing as she stared back at Earth from space.
“The air looked dirtier, less trees, more roads, all those things,” she told NASA’s Oral History Project.
Her passion for environmentalism eventually swayed her from space exploration.
He led her to work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy.
Mary Cleave tributes and condolences
NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana paid tribute to Cleave’s legacy in a statement reacting to her passing:
“Mary was a force of nature with a passion for science, exploration, and caring for our home planet. She will be missed.”
Friends and colleagues have also taken to social media to express their condolences and remember Cleave’s pioneering spirit and contributions to space exploration.
Sally Ride’s longtime partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, tweeted: “Sad to learn of the death of Mary Cleave.
Who flew on two @NASA space shuttle missions as a crew member/mission specialist?
In a man’s world, Mary got the job done & inspired women around the globe. She will be missed.”
Cleave will be remembered for her commitment to her passions and as a trailblazer for female astronauts.