McClain is an astronaut who has just returned from a six-month stay at the International Space Station. Merancy is responsible for the planning and analysis of the exploration mission for Orion Probe that will be part of the Artemis mission in 2024. And Ridings is the first female flight director.
And they all work to reach the first woman on the moon by 2024.
Constituencies remember watching the shuttle launches at her elementary school cafeteria, but her classmates did not seem interested. Then the Challenger exploded and she remembers thinking, "I want to improve that." She could not express this need at the time, but it had become the linchpin of her career: exploring and reaching difficult goals.
At the time, she did not think about it, but after reflection, she realized that many of her mathematics and science teachers were women.
She earned a degree in mechanical engineering and had mentors who had worked for NASA. He showed Ridings the balance between engineering and the human side of the space community. She learned how important it was to build a team that could work together seamlessly while integrating different skills, and that leadership could unite them for successful missions.
In 2018, it was announced that Ridings would be the first woman chief flight director at NASA. She is responsible for all of the agency's spaceflight operations, including the International Space Station, commercial crew vehicle operations and upcoming launches. There are not two identical days. She works with partners, meets her team at Mission Control and ensures that the space agency is ready to face the unknown and fly.
It sounds simple, but the objectives have weight: to fly men safely and successfully into space, to succeed in their mission and to bring them safely back to Earth.
If something unexpected happens, constituencies thrive in chaos. This goes back to his childhood goal: to solve complex problems. "The energizing aspect of having problems at the corner is really what keeps us current and motivated and our level of enthusiasm high," she said.
Some of the original Apollo flight directors return to Mission Control, discussing with current flight directors and supervisors. Many things have changed, including the diversity of mission control. But problem solving, which is based on courage, determination and resilience, remains the same.
Ridings thought about what she will tell her team at the Apollo 11 anniversary; they will be in mission control, launching astronauts to the space station. The legacy of the Apollo program is of importance while its twin, Artemis, will be at the rendezvous in the coming years.
"We have here a sentence that refers to these guys and Apollo:" We stand on the shoulders of giants. "But what I want to say to my flight directors is that we are now giants, we can influence everyone in manned flights, we have to be tough with ourselves, be aware of what we are changing. make a huge impact. "
Constituencies also have an impact, whether she knows it or not, as the first woman to assume the role.
"You do not think about it every day," she says. "It's an honor and the fact that the world needs this is an education for me – I take this role seriously to represent as a woman."
McClain knew that she wanted to become an astronaut at the age of 3 years. She looked at her mother and told him, and her mother never discouraged her. If anyone else was trying to tell McClain that she could not be an astronaut, her mother would tell her that their opinion mattered little because they were not working for NASA.
McClain also knew that she wanted to serve her country. She graduated from West Point in 2002 and was named an Army Officer. During her period of service in Iraq, she carried out more than 200 combat missions. She spoke about the fact that she had prospered in the army, that she had been judged on her merit and that she had contributed to her units.
She was also part of the US Women's National Rugby Team between 2004 and 2006 and from 2010 to 2012.
"It has prepared me to become an astronaut," she said. "Being able to hit the limits, move on and keep going.You can excel in many areas.I've been able to play rugby until you became an astronaut."
She also attended the US Naval Test Pilot School and graduated in June 2013 at the same time that she was selected as a candidate for NASA's astronaut, one of eight people in the 21st class. d & # 39; astronauts. At 40, she is the youngest member of the astronaut corps.
His training included T-38 flight training, water and wildlife survival training, space station training, robotics, and scientific and technical briefings. She completed her training in 2015 and was flight engineer at the International Space Station from December 3rd to June 24th.
During his 204 days in the space, McClain has participated in hundreds of experiments, including small devices that reproduce the functioning of human organs and the editing of DNA in space for the first time. She completed two outings in space. And all the time, she reminded everyone who was dedicated to her mission that pursuing her passion was the best thing to do.
McClain has just returned to Earth after her six-month stay at the space station, but she is also one of 12 female astronauts who could be the first woman on the moon.
"Who are we if we stop exploring?" McClain asked in a recent video from NASA. "Every day is the crossroads of magic and technique.There are times when you step back and realize that we are working beyond the planet in microgravity in one of the most ruthless environments that the Mankind has known – it's really amazing. "
In the second year, Merancy went on a field trip to visit an air traffic control tower and knew she wanted to work in the aerospace industry. She was also inspired by the Apollo Missions, although she was always disappointed that women did not go on the moon. This inspired him to be an explorer and to understand what made this possible.
Now she has to send the first woman to the moon.
Merancy is the head of planning and analysis of the mission of exploration for the Orion program, a unique opportunity in her life.
"Lunar launchers are built only once," Merancy said. "Even though I will not be the first woman, putting one on the moon is a personal victory."
Orion is the capsule that will lead four crew members to the bridge, which acts as a point of aggregation in space. Then, a lander will take the crew to the lunar surface. Because each piece has a specific purpose and can be re-used, it is a sustainable approach to "return to the moon for good", as announced by Jim Bridenstine, director of the NASA, this year.
It's about creating a complete capability, which will also enable a Mars mission. So the stakes are high.
The Apollo program was expensive and designed to land in the equatorial regions on the moon. His vehicles had a life of 14 days.
The Artemis program is different in every respect. More flexible and durable, it offers multiple opportunities to land at the same place on the moon and create a habitat. But this also makes the requirements higher on the vehicles used for Artemis.
The Merancy days are occupied by the monitoring of the many features of the program, the monitoring of power, heat and propulsion and the synergy of all elements. She works with a large team. And the very real goal of returning to the moon is on the horizon.
From the beginning of his work on Orion, there was talk of returning to the moon, but it was uncertain. Merancy and his team did not stop to connect, knowing that when this vehicle would be needed, he would be ready. "It's like" Field of Dreams ": Build it and they'll come," Merancy said. "It's really exciting now that we are about to steal. "
Merancy looks forward to the day when we will see the moon close and science will resume, exploring the intriguing aspects of the moon that we have not yet unlocked.
But something about the moon also casts a different point of view on the Earth.
"This mission has hope," Merancy said. "I hope that when we fly, we will have a unifying advantage.The Earth is so small and it is our only home.The moon would be hard to live and Mars is not viable for the I hope we get to the moon and turn around to see the Earth, it makes people work better together. "