Mae Carol Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama, on October 17, 1956. She is the youngest of three children and is the first African American woman to become an astronaut and travel to space. Jemison is an engineer and physician; she’s worked at NASA as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. When she left NASA in 1993, Jemison founded a technology research company and later formed a non-profit educational foundation.
Mae Carol Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama, on October 17, 1956. She is the youngest of three children and the first African American woman to become an astronaut and travel to space. She is an engineer and physician and was with NASA as a mission specialist on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
Before joining NASA, Jemison was a doctor for the Peace Corps from 1983 until 1985. She had dreams of becoming an astronaut and applied for NASA in 1985. However, due to a disaster with one of their shuttles, NASA postponed selecting new candidates; Jemison reapplied in 1987. As an astronaut, Jemison only flew one space mission in her career ― the 1992 mission on STS-47. Jemison resigned from NASA in 1993 after her return from the eight-day shuttle mission. She intended to form her own company; she later founded a technology research company called The Jemison Group Inc. She also established a non-profit educational foundation named after her mother. The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence was involved in many non-profit programs; they aimed to educate children about science and technology. Jemison also founded BioSentient Corp and obtained the license to commercialize A.F.T.E. ― she and her crewmates tested this technique on themselves during STS-47.
She has also written several books, including “Find Where the Wind Goes” in 2001 and “A True Book” series in 2013, which is a children’s book series about astronomy.
Jemison applies for NASA.
Jemison flies her first and only space mission.
Jemison starts her technology consulting firm.
Jemison co-authors and publishes her “A True Book” series.
Why We Love Mae Jemison
Her passion for environmental sciences
Jemison is very passionate about environmental sciences, particularly inspiring young children to take an interest in and pursue careers in the field. She was involved in an initiative named Science Matters, which encouraged young children to understand and pursue agricultural sciences.
Her legacy is inspiring
Being the first African American woman to become an astronaut and participate in a space shuttle mission is legendary. Jemison has inspired many young girls to follow their dreams and not be discouraged by gender norms and expectations.
She’s won awards
Jemison has won 19 awards throughout her career. These testify to her skill, bravery, and exceptional knowledge as a scientist and engineer.
5 Surprising Facts
Her NASA mission
Jemison’s NASA mission was their 50th shuttle mission and was a cooperative mission between the U.S. and Japan.
Her time in space
Jemison was in space for almost eight days and orbited the earth 127 times.
Jemison began her communications with a quote from “Star Trek,” “Hailing frequencies open.”
She was a professor
Jemison was a professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College for a few years.
She owns a dance studio
Jemison owns a dance studio in her hometown.
Mae Jemison FAQs
What did Mae Jemison discover?
She conducted experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness.
Did Mae Jemison get married?
No, she has never been married.
How old was Mae Jemison when she first went to space?
Jemison was 31 years when she first went to space.
Mae Jemison’s birthday dates