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NASA Just Announced New Crew For ISS, But Where Are My Ladies At?

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In a press release today NASA announced the crews for Expedition 47 and 48  to the International Space Station, and sadly I didn’t make the cut. (Like my letter from Hogwarts, it’s probably still in the mail.) Unfortunately, not only am I not visiting the final frontier in 2016, it seems that neither are any other ladies. Spaceballs!

NASA’s website stated today that the crew for Expedition 47 to ISS would be NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, Sergei Zaletin of Roscosmos, and  Tim Peake from the European Space Agency. The crew of Expedition 47 will be joined in the spring of 2016 by NASA’s astronaut Jeff Williams, who will stay on until the crew of Expedition 48 arrives and command the station in Zaletin’s absence.

Williams comes with an incredible resume — this is his third long-duration mission to the ISS and fourth space flight. He first went to ISS in 2006 and captained Expedition 22 in 2010. After the departure of Zaletin and Kopra, he will be met by Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos.

Ovchinin, who has been a cosmonaut since 2009, will be the only member of the two crews experiencing his first flight. I am very, very happy for him. I just wish there was an inspiring lady cosmonaut also about to put her years of training to use, too.

Before you get your astronaut-diapers in a twist about how gender is irrelevant and these candidates were obviously just the best choices for these missions, let me be clear that I agree with you. I’m just lamenting the fact that women are usually less likely to receive the credentials or training necessary to be the right astronaut for the job in the first place. It’s an indication of institutionalized sexism that a large number of people, upon first reading this roster, probably wouldn’t even notice that it’s going to be one big space sausage fest on the ISS.

NASA’s press release is a bittersweet reminder that women with an interest in science have historically been done a disservice. The silver lining here is that, as we wrote last June, NASA’s 8-person class of 2013 was the first ever with an equal gender ratio, and Gravity made $55 million in its first opening weekend with a female lead getting spun around in space, which might help to normalize the depiction of women in scientific roles. Hopefully sometime soon, some more high-profile female astronauts will exist both on- and off-screen.

(NASA, images via Tom Blyth)

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