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NASA, SpaceX, and Diversity—When You're Not the Only One

Atlin Merrick Diversity in Fiction Shouty Encouragement

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX Engineer & CEOJust watched the NASA Live: SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test, which is like so many things involving space, made me again feel like the kid who read all those sci-fi novels, who loved the Martian stories of Ray Bradbury, the moon stories of Robert Heinlein, the robot and tech tales of Tanith Lee.

Two other things struck me about watching today’s successful tests of the "Crew Dragon spacecraft’s ability to safely escape the Falcon 9 rocket in the event of an emergency during launch.” (Yes, quoting directly from NASA.)

The first was that of the two main voices heard during the test, one was Marie Lewis, a public affairs officer for NASA and a woman.

The second was learning that Lauren Lyon a mechanical and aerospace engineer and black woman is part of SpaceX.

The third was learning that the CEO of SpaceX is engineer Gwynne Shotwell.

Gwynne Shotwell, Lauren Lyon, Marie Lewis: Why They Are Important

Why are these three things so important to me? Because it’s fuckin’ lonely being the first, the only, the representative, or the sole voice, and to see women in this high tech world is a damned comfort to those who want to be there too. It tells the ten year old girl watching, the twenty year old woman studying science, it tells every person who's been a minority that they don’t always have to be the first, the only.

Diversity matters because it helps dreamers not only dream but to go ahead and do. You can say “I see that someone else did, so I know that I can.” Having the certainty that it’s possible gives strength when things are a struggle, helps keep one brave and moving forward. I know this for a fact because when I was a girl I dreamed of travel of writing of doing and with the aid of my family and friends, who always believed I could, I did.

The Crazy-Pants Importance of Diversity in Fiction

The main reason Improbable Press exists is to, in the form of great fiction voices, put women at the forefront of stories, to put trans people, black people, disabled people, LGBT+ people in their own stories. To share their joys and adventures, their mysteries and their passions.

I want so much to know who you are and what you’ve dreamed and done so we can share that with others, whether they’re disabled, female, Asian, autistic—or all those things or something more. I want people to know that someone else has done what they dream of doing.

I ask a hundred times, a thousand times, tell me here in the comments who you are and what you’ve done, so it’s there for the dreamers who want to do. Please?

(P.S. Comments moderated because o' spam bots; use a fake email if you'd rather not share a real one. Photo credit.)

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  • Rachel Craig on

    I didn’t dream of my future when I was young. I didn’t make plans for when I grew up. Part of it is simply growing up mentally ill, part of it was american evangelicalism that shaded into an apocalyptic cult. I didn’t make plans for the future- I didn’t expect to live long enough to need any.

    (I’m always the only person like me in the room. I’m often the only female presenting person, the only autistic person, the only person with my kind of trauma. It’s always been that way. I’m used to it. Being around people who think they’re like me is uncomfortable because they expect openness I can’t offer.)

    I – guess. I’ve survived. I’m getting my feet under me, living independently, being able to make choices for myself. The things I didn’t even know I could dream about, then.

    Don’t know if that’s what you were looking for, sorry.

  • Jenna Braid on

    Does it count if you’ve travelled the world even though most of your relative said you shouldn’t because you’re a woman? I think it does! :-D LOL

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