Author Topic: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?  (Read 19487 times)

Offline CuddlyRocket

As we all know, only 12 men have walked on the Moon. NASA is not going to get away with continuing that gender monopoly (and not should it), but how should NASA integrate women into lunar missions? All at once, straightaway, or phased in both numbers and time?

(All the men have also been white, but ethnicity has no practical difficulties, whereas there are differences between men and women and problems with mixed crews.)

Although I believe that women are just as capable as men and have no reason to suspect that they cannot perform lunar missions to the same degree, it's not a demonstrated fact. Having women on the first mission introduces an extra element of uncertainty (no matter how small), so it might be preferable on a risk-management basis to get the first mission out of the way - thereby retiring a significant number of engineering uncertainties - before sending women.

Mixed crews do present problems (of privacy rather than relationships - these are professional people), as there will be very little living space, which people will be confined in for quite a while. We have had mixed crews on Soyuz and the Shuttle (though for short periods) and various stations, though the latter two have seperate compartments. Will mixed crews cause a problem? Will it be better to have 2+2 rather than 3+1 (or 1+3)? Would it be better to send all-male and all-female crews?

From a media-interest point of view (although perhaps not in overall PR terms?), it would be better to send an all-male crew first as there will be enough interest in the return of humans to the Moon in itself. Then you get the boost of the first woman (or women) for a later mission. (This is also true for the first ethnic-minority astronaut, but I can't think of any even remotely plausible argument for not sending ethnic minority astronauts on the first mission.)

What do people think?

Offline imfan

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #1 on: 09/23/2007 09:24 AM »
Nasa will send astroauts to the moon. These astronauts will be selected according to their capabilities. Whether there wil be any women among these depends on how they can fulfil all requirements, not on their gender.

Offline ShuttleDiscovery

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RE: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #2 on: 09/23/2007 11:59 AM »
It will be cool to have some women riding the lunar rovers!  ;)

Offline Crispy

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #3 on: 09/23/2007 12:53 PM »
All black female crew for the first new moon mission please :)

Offline clongton

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #4 on: 09/23/2007 01:46 PM »
There is nothing a man does in space that a woman cannot do just as well. Crew selections should be based on the mission alone and who, among the astronaut corp best fulfils the mission requirements.

The facilities will be too small in the beginning to provide any but the meagerest of privacy, and cannot consider gender as a factor. These men and women are all professional astronauts and they will suck it up and do their jobs. Period.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline meiza

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #5 on: 09/23/2007 01:54 PM »
Gender related privacy is the least of problems there.

Offline clongton

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #6 on: 09/23/2007 03:22 PM »
Quote
meiza - 23/9/2007  9:54 AM

Gender related privacy is the least of problems there.
On missions, privicy will be individual/personal based, not gender based.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline ryan mccabe

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #7 on: 09/23/2007 04:11 PM »
I agree with most of what has been said above. Astronauts will be chosen for their capabilities and I doubt crew rotations will be that much different from today's Shuttle/ISS mix.

What will be interesting IMO, is if NASA begins selecting foreign astronauts for certain lunar missions? We could perhaps been in a position to choose which nationality gets to the Moon second by flying on our hardware. Might it follow like the Shuttle program where if a given space agency provides a science package or area of expertise, their astronaut gets to fly?

Offline Marsman

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #8 on: 09/23/2007 04:39 PM »
There will be few flights on the current manifest, and the Americans will compete heavily to get the limited seats, much less foreign astronauts. However, NASA has repeatedly stated that they wnat lunar coorperation, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Offline cpt palmer

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #9 on: 09/23/2007 05:26 PM »
my wife thinks that women are capable of going to space physically and mentally but not emotionally.and i have to agree,i mean look at the female astronaut who travelled across country wearing a diaper to keep from having to make frequent stops to confront another female coworker over a male astronaut.women can do anything a man can in some cases with a few exceptions to the cause.has for mixed crews,well i believe that if they are capable or qualified enough to do theyre jobs then they should be able to be on that mission regardless of race or gender.lol

Offline clongton

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #10 on: 09/23/2007 05:35 PM »
Quote
cpt palmer - 23/9/2007  1:26 PM

my wife thinks that women are capable of going to space physically and mentally but not emotionally.and i have to agree,i mean look at the female astronaut who travelled across country wearing a diaper to keep from having to make frequent stops to confront another female coworker over a male astronaut.women can do anything a man can in some cases with a few exceptions to the cause.has for mixed crews,well i believe that if they are capable or qualified enough to do theyre jobs then they should be able to be on that mission regardless of race or gender.lol
Emotional problems are not limited to gender. That is only one example.
There are just as many men with emotional problems as there are women.
The example quoted is not appropriate.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #11 on: 09/23/2007 05:40 PM »
I agree that Crews should be selected on abilty.  however we all know that shuttle crews have selected for political and media reasons.  No question they have been capable (at least as far as I have heard)  

The pilots of the shuttle are the most important skill level but mission and payload specialists can be filled by many professional people.  I am sure that almost any engineer or scientist worth their salt would be able to do these missions with the 2 or 3 years of training they receive.

But with Lunar missions with only 4 seats and far more critical mission elements there won't be room for assigning mission specialists all willy nilly.  There will be some women and minorities but the Astronaut Corps will not be as large or as diverse as it has been for Shuttle.
Jonesing for a copy of 'Tales of Suspense #39'

Offline Jorge

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #12 on: 09/23/2007 06:43 PM »
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cpt palmer - 23/9/2007  12:26 PM

my wife thinks that women are capable of going to space physically and mentally but not emotionally.and i have to agree,i mean look at the female astronaut who travelled across country wearing a diaper to keep from having to make frequent stops to confront another female coworker over a male astronaut.

That's ridiculous. I might as well point to Charles Brady to "prove" that men aren't capable of going to space emotionally. You can't generalize from a single example to an entire gender.
JRF

Offline William Graham

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #13 on: 09/23/2007 07:23 PM »
It is sexist to select women based on their gender, it is racist to select coloured people based on their skin colour. All astronauts should be treated equally, and selected on skill. You should not discriminate against the majority in order to protect the minority.

Offline imfan

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #14 on: 09/24/2007 05:46 AM »
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Crispy - 23/9/2007  2:53 PM

All black female crew for the first new moon mission please :)

Bring on some black lesbians!!!

Offline rfoshaug

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #15 on: 09/24/2007 07:41 AM »
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GW_Simulations - 23/9/2007  9:23 PM

It is sexist to select women based on their gender, it is racist to select coloured people based on their skin colour. All astronauts should be treated equally, and selected on skill. You should not discriminate against the majority in order to protect the minority.

True. The only professional thing NASA can do is to treat all astronauts the same as if they were the same gender/skin colour.

Selecting an incompetent astronaut because she is a woman is just as bad as not selecting a competent astronaut because she is a woman.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #16 on: 09/24/2007 11:55 AM »
Quote
rfoshaug - 24/9/2007  3:41 AM

Quote
GW_Simulations - 23/9/2007  9:23 PM

It is sexist to select women based on their gender, it is racist to select coloured people based on their skin colour. All astronauts should be treated equally, and selected on skill. You should not discriminate against the majority in order to protect the minority.

True. The only professional thing NASA can do is to treat all astronauts the same as if they were the same gender/skin colour.

Selecting an incompetent astronaut because she is a woman is just as bad as not selecting a competent astronaut because she is a woman.

I agree entirely.  However, imagine we get 6 flights into going to the moon and all the crews are white guys.  If something like that happens, and it won't take 6 flights, probably less than 1 there will be social groups (Think Al sharpton) grabbing the issue and making a big deal out of it.  

Its obvious that NASA has some politics in its DNA, since thats where the money comes from, so even though the wisest thing to do is pick crews based on skill and ability there will be meddling.
Jonesing for a copy of 'Tales of Suspense #39'

Offline kraisee

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #17 on: 09/24/2007 06:05 PM »
The Astronaut Corps is currently made up of a very wide variety of gender and ethnic backgrounds.   I don't think it is likely that there will be any sort of regression at all - if anything I see the proportions probably getting even more "equal" than they already are over the next 12 years as we await the next US lunar landing.

There is no question regarding a female astronaut's capabilities compared to a mans.   Eileen Collins demonstrated precisely how much respect NASA has for its female astronauts - she commanded the Return To Flight mission a few years ago and that was probably the highest profile and potentially the most important flight NASA had had in almost two decades.   There was never a question about her ability to handle command of that high profile mission, and that is how it should be for all missions.


But getting back to the original intent of the thread, my understanding is that there will be similar arrangements to those on STS.   There will be some limited facilities to ensure privacy in the "bathroom" for female astronauts aboard the CEV and LSAM, probably as rudimentary as a curtain, but there will be something acceptable.

The surface EVA suits are going to be designed with both sexes in mind too, so I think it won't be long before we see women on the lunar surface.

I expect the first manned landing will be only two people (to reduce the risk).   Who they will be will depend on who are the best two astronauts for the job somewhere around 2015 when the final selection will be made.   It will be the top two astronauts, irrelevant of sex, color or creed.   I would expect the second flight to probably have some sort of political element involved in the selection though - to re-address any "PC bias" perceived during the first.

After that, starting with the third flight, I would expect that one of the four seats will always be reserved for an international partner astronaut, and through that over time, the crews will represent a very wide cross-section of humanity.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline clongton

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #18 on: 09/24/2007 07:47 PM »
We should probably begin to phase out the term "manned" and begin using the word "crewed". :)
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Jim

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Re: How will NASA integrate women into lunar missions?
« Reply #19 on: 09/24/2007 07:56 PM »
Things are "crewed" with unisex facilities on the CEV

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