Previously published in Examiner
Part 17 of the female astronaut series
Women have penetrated almost every field and some women made the lists of firsts long before the USA. This series will concentrate on female astronauts. The astronauts are Russian, American, British, French, Japanese, South Korean and Canadian. Julie Payette is our home-grown Montreal born astronaut.
Margaret Rhea Seddon
Margaret Rhea Seddon born in 1947, was among the first group of female astronauts in America. She flew three different missions. She was the mission specialist on the STS-51-D (space shuttle Discovery) and STS-40, (space shuttle Columbia) and the payload commander on STS-58 (space shuttle Columbia).
Margaret is a doctor specializing in nutrition for post surgery patients. Prior to her service to NASA she was an emergency department physician in Tennessee and Mississippi. Dr. Margaret Seddon was also did research work in nutrition for cancer patients.
Dr. Seddon became an astronaut in August 1979. She has performed many duties over her career including Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) in the Mission Control Center, Flight Data File, Orbiter and payload software, Technical Assistant to the Director of Flight Crew Operations, Shuttle medical kit and checklist, NASA’s Aerospace Medical Advisory Committee and launch and landing rescue helicopter physician.
Dr. Seddon has spent 722 hours in space. In 1996, Margaret Seddon was working for NASA at Vanderbilt University Medical School, Nashville, Tennessee, where she assisted in creating cardiovascular experiments that would be performed on the Space Shuttle Columbia on the Neurolab Spacelab flight in April 1998.
She retired from NASA in 1997, and is currently the assistant chief medical officer of the Vanderbilt Medical Group in Nashville.
Dr. Seddon earned her “badge of sorority into space” on her returned flight from her Space Shuttle Discovery voyage. The ANIK-C for Telesat of Canada, and Syncom IV-3 for the U.S. Navy they deployed had malfunctioned. Here is where Dr. Seddon did her EVA (spacewalk) in an “attempt to attempt to activate the satellite using the Remote Manipulator System.”
Aboard theSTS-58 (Columbia), Spacelab Life Sciences-2 Seddon and the “crew performed neurovestibular, cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary, metabolic, and musculoskeletal medical experiments on themselves and 48 rats, expanding our knowledge on earth and in space.”