Press Release

First Mother in Space, Mars Team to be at NASA Langley Open House

By SpaceRef Editor
September 19, 2012
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HAMPTON, Va. – An astronaut who was the first mother in space will mingle with visitors and sign autographs this Saturday at NASA Langley Research Center’s open house.

Also making an appearance will be members of the NASA Langley team that helped put the Curiosity rover on Mars last month.

Astronaut Anna L. Fisher will be at Langley from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 22 as part of the open house, which celebrates the center’s 95th anniversary.

The event is free and open to the public, and visitors are encouraged to tell about their experience on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Langley’s Twitter handle is @NASA_Langley; the Facebook address is

Fisher became the first mother in space when she spent a week week in orbit as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1984. Prior to joining NASA, she had was as an emergency room physician.

Today Fisher is an International Space Station capsule communicator or CAPCOM, the person in NASA’s mission control who talks with astronauts aboard spacecraft. She also works on development of the Orion crew capsule, part of NASA’s next-generation space transportation system.

Fisher will talk with guests about the Orion project during a special splash-test of a crew capsule mockup at 3 p.m. at Langley’s Hydro Impact Basin. The basin is one of several stops on a tour designed for members of the public attending the open house.

She also will be at the Reid Conference Center from 10 a.m. to noon, and at the Pearl Young Theater from 1 to 2:30 p.m. to speak and sign autographs. To learn more about Fisher, go to

Other highlights of the open house include:

Bus tours of more than a dozen wind tunnels and labs showcasing NASA Langley’s 95 years of contributions to the nation’s aerospace program as well as present and future projects.

Activities such as programming a Lego robot, landing a spacecraft on Mars using an Xbox Kinect game, making a comet from dry ice, and meeting Robonaut, the most unique crew member aboard the International Space Station.

The chance to have lunch in the NASA Langley employee cafeteria and purchase items from the gift shop.

Mars team

Visitors also will have a chance to see a full-scale Curiosity rover model and meet members of the Langley team that was part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission.

The team performed millions of simulations of the spacecraft’s entry, descent and landing phase – the so-called “seven minutes of terror.” The team also put sensors on the spacecraft to measure temperature and pressure during entry, descent and landing.

Visitors can reach tour stops on buses that will be provided.

Helpful links

List of tour stops:

Mars mission:

Directions to NASA Langley:

For more information about Langley go to

NOTE: Visitors should wear comfortable, closed-toe walking shoes. And vehicles and people entering are subject to search. Not allowed at the open house: weapons of any kind, including firearms and knives; shoulder bags except for women’s purses and infant diaper bags; coolers; alcoholic beverages, and computers.

SpaceRef staff editor.