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Kathy Sullivan: Spacewalker

Kathy Sullivan discusses her extraordinary NASA career and shares riveting stories of her time in space.

About this episode:

Kathy Sullivan is an explorer and a pioneer, an oceanographer and a scientist, an astronaut and an American hero. Selected as one of the first female astronauts in NASA history, Kathy flew three missions on the space shuttle and became – in 1984 – the first American woman to walk in space. Kathy also flew on the space shuttle mission in 1990 that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope – one of the most advanced and important scientific achievements in the history of NASA. After leaving NASA, Kathy ran the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – a crucial part of the Department of Commerce – that houses, among other agencies, the National Weather Service.

In June 2020, after this episode was recorded, Kathy became the first woman to descend to the deepest spot in the ocean – a nearly seven-mile journey to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, in the western Pacific Ocean. That makes Kathy the only person to walk in space and to dive to the ocean’s deepest known point.

Kathy is the author of a book that describes her extraordinary NASA career – Handprints on Hubble – An Astronaut’s Story of Invention.

Kathy shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating stories of her work as an astronaut, the thrill of venturing into space, and the dedicated and brilliant team of men and women who make spaceflight possible. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Read the transcript here.

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