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ChinaBiochemistChemist

Daisy Yen Wu

Daisy Yen Wu was a pioneering Chinese woman in the fields of biochemistry and nutrition. Born into a wealthy family in Shanghai in 1902, she pursued her education in the United States and became the first Chinese woman to work as an academic researcher in these fields. Wu’s dedication to education and research led her to establish scholarships and make significant contributions to the scientific community. She passed away in 1993, leaving a lasting legacy on these fields.

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United StatesArcherChemist

Darleane C. Hoffman

Darleane Christian Hoffman, born in Terril, Iowa, in 1926, is an American nuclear chemist known for her significant contributions to the field of science. She confirmed the existence of Seaborgium, element 106, and conducted extensive research on transuranium elements. Hoffman’s groundbreaking work and numerous accolades have made her a role model for aspiring scientists, particularly women, in the field of nuclear chemistry.

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United KingdomBiochemistChemist

Kathleen Culhane Lathbury

Kathleen Culhane Lathbury was a British biochemist known for her groundbreaking work with insulin and vitamins. Throughout her career, Lathbury made significant contributions to the field of chemistry, particularly in the field of pharmaceuticals. Her dedication to her work, perseverance in the face of adversity, and pioneering research have left a lasting impact on the scientific community.

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United StatesBiochemistChemist

Icie Hoobler

Icie Gertrude Macy Hoobler was an American biochemist dedicated to researching human nutrition, with a focus on the well-being of mothers and children. Despite facing discrimination, she became the first woman to chair a local section of the American Chemical Society and received 22 prestigious awards for her groundbreaking research. Her passion for science and concern for children’s wellness stemmed from her upbringing on a farm in Missouri and a formative experience with sick children in Arkansas. Hoobler’s resilience and advocacy continue to inspire generations of scientists.

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CanadaArcherBiochemist

Clara Benson

Clara Cynthia Benson (1875–1964) was a Canadian chemist and an influential figure in the field of biochemistry. She is best known as the sole female founder of the American Society for Biological Chemistry, now known as the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). Benson’s groundbreaking contributions to the scientific community and her pioneering role as one of the first two women to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto (U of T) have left a lasting impact on the field of biochemistry and women’s history.

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NorwayChemist

Ellen Gleditsch

Ellen Gleditsch was a pioneering radiochemist from Norway, known for her groundbreaking research on radium and isotopes. Despite facing challenges as a woman in a male-dominated field, she persevered and became Norway’s second female professor. Her contributions to radiochemistry and advocacy for gender equality have left a lasting impact on the scientific community and society as a whole.

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United StatesChemistEducator

Helen Murray Free

Helen Murray Free was an American chemist and educator who revolutionized in vitro self-testing systems for diseases like diabetes. Her work at Miles Laboratories allowed individuals to obtain reliable test results without the need for laboratories. She was also dedicated to scientific education and inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM fields. Helen Murray Free’s contributions continue to shape the world today.

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United StatesBiochemistChemist

Gertrude B. Elion

Gertrude “Trudy” Belle Elion (January 23, 1918 – February 21, 1999) made significant contributions to medicine through her innovative methods of rational drug design. She revolutionized the field by focusing on understanding drug targets, leading to the development of life-saving medications such as AZT for AIDS and acyclovir for herpes. Despite facing gender discrimination, she persevered and became an icon in women’s history.

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United StatesBiochemistChemist

Mildred Cohn

Mildred Cohn (1913-2009) was an American biochemist who made significant contributions to the field of biochemistry. Her pioneering work in using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study enzyme reactions greatly advanced our understanding of biochemical processes, particularly in relation to adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Despite facing gender discrimination, Cohn persisted in her studies and achieved remarkable success in her career. Her research and innovative techniques have inspired countless aspiring scientists, especially women, who have followed in her footsteps.

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AustriaUnited KingdomChemist

Ida Freund

Ida Freund was a trailblazer in chemistry and a pioneering advocate for women’s education in science. Despite facing adversity, she excelled in her studies and became the first woman to be appointed as a staff lecturer in chemistry in the United Kingdom. Her impact extended beyond academia, as she fought for gender equality and contributed to the field through research. Her indomitable spirit continues to inspire future generations of scientists.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBiochemist

Alice Ball

Alice Augusta Ball was an American chemist who developed the “Ball Method,” the most effective treatment for leprosy at that time. Despite her remarkable achievements, her contributions to science were not recognized until many years after her untimely death at the age of 24. Her groundbreaking research and the “Ball Method” gained widespread recognition in the 1970s, establishing her as a true icon in the history of scientific breakthroughs and women’s empowerment.

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GermanyChemistJewish

Clara Immerwahr

Clara Helene Immerwahr, the first German woman to be awarded a doctorate in chemistry, made significant contributions to the field and played a vital role in advancing women’s rights. Despite facing challenges and limited recognition, she remained dedicated to her pursuit of equality. Tragically, her life was cut short in 1915 under mysterious circumstances, but her legacy continues to inspire women in male-dominated fields.

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United StatesChemistEngineer

Ellen Swallow Richards

Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards, a pioneer in engineering, chemistry, and home economics, was born on December 3, 1842, in Dunstable, Massachusetts. Her passion for education and knowledge led her to become the first woman admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the first American woman to earn a degree in chemistry. Richards revolutionized public health through her research on water quality and made significant contributions to the field of home economics. Despite facing challenges as a woman in a male-dominated society, she persisted in advancing women’s roles in science and technology.

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FranceChemistPhysicist

Irène Joliot-Curie

Irène Joliot-Curie, born in 1897 in Paris, France, was a French chemist, physicist, and politician. Alongside her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935 for their discovery of induced radioactivity, following in her parents’ footsteps of winning Nobel Prizes. She also played an influential role in French politics, becoming one of the first women in French history to hold a government position. Tragically, she passed away in 1956 due to acute leukemia, attributed in part to her exposure to polonium and X-rays during her scientific research.

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EgyptUnited KingdomChemist

Dorothy Hodgkin

Dorothy Hodgkin was a British chemist who made significant contributions to X-ray crystallography. She confirmed the structure of penicillin and vitamin B12, revolutionizing medicine and winning her the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Her work in understanding the structure of insulin also advanced our understanding of blood sugar regulation. Hodgkin’s research continues to impact drug development and the study of biological processes today.

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GermanyChemistPhysicist

Ida Noddack

Ida Noddack, a German chemist and physicist, made groundbreaking contributions to the field of science. She was the first to mention the concept of nuclear fission and, alongside her husband and Otto Berg, discovered element 75, rhenium. Despite being nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Noddack’s achievements were often overlooked. Her critical analysis of scientific discoveries and insights into nuclear fission were instrumental in the development of nuclear energy.

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Czech RepublicUnited StatesArcher

Gerty Cori

Gerty Theresa Cori was a Czech-American biochemist who defied societal expectations to make significant contributions to the field of science. With her husband, Carl Ferdinand Cori, she discovered the mechanism behind glycogen metabolism and the Cori cycle, earning them the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947. Despite facing barriers as a woman in science, Gerty’s passion and determination paved the way for advancements in the treatment of metabolic disorders.

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United StatesChemistInventor

Patsy O’Connell Sherman

Patsy O’Connell Sherman was an American chemist and co-inventor of Scotchgard, a stain repellent and water repellent product. She defied societal expectations and pursued a scientific career after an aptitude test suggested she become a housewife. Sherman made significant contributions to 3M, co-inventing Scotchgard by accident. Her innovative work revolutionized the textile industry and earned her numerous patents and awards. She advocated for women in science and inspired young women to pursue careers in the sciences.

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IsraelChemistJewish

Ada Yonath

Ada Yonath, born in 1939 in Jerusalem, is an Israeli chemist and Nobel laureate crystallographer known for her groundbreaking work on the structure of ribosomes. Despite financial challenges, Yonath excelled academically and pursued her passion for science. Her research on ribosome structure revolutionized our understanding of protein synthesis and led to advancements in antibiotic development. In 2009, she became the first Israeli woman to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

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BrazilUnited StatesChemist

Madeleine M. Joullié

Madeleine M. Joullié, an American-Brazilian organic chemist, was the first woman to join the University of Pennsylvania chemistry faculty and the first female organic chemist to be appointed to a tenure track position in a major American university. Her work in synthesizing organic compounds has led to the development of antibiotic and antiviral drugs.

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FranceArcherBiochemist

Emmanuelle Charpentier

Emmanuelle Marie Charpentier was born on December 11, 1968, in Juvisy-sur-Orge, France. She is a renowned French professor and researcher in microbiology, genetics, and biochemistry. Charpentier’s groundbreaking work in the field of genome editing has propelled her to the forefront of scientific research and earned her numerous accolades.

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United StatesChemist

Isabella Karle

Isabella Karle (1921-2017) was an American chemist who made significant contributions to crystallography. Her groundbreaking work in developing techniques to extract plutonium chloride played a crucial role in scientific research. Her contributions revolutionized X-ray crystallography and led to advancements in various scientific and industrial sectors. Isabella Karle’s immense contributions and dedication continue to inspire future generations.

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Great BritainBiochemistChemist

Marjory Stephenson

Marjory Stephenson was a British biochemist who made significant contributions to microbiology and enzymology. Her groundbreaking research on bacterial metabolism and her role in establishing the Society for General Microbiology earned her numerous awards and recognition. Despite facing financial constraints and societal barriers against women in science, Stephenson’s perseverance and immense talent allowed her to leave a lasting legacy in the scientific community as a true trailblazer in the field of microbiology.

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ArgentinaChemistDoctor

Yolanda Ortiz

Yolanda Ortiz was a pioneering Argentine doctor of chemistry and the first Secretary of Natural Resources and Human Environment in Argentina. She dedicated her life to addressing environmental issues and advocating for sustainable development. Despite facing exile and challenges, Ortiz founded an ecological organization and continued her advocacy work until her passing in 2019. Her contributions have left a lasting impact on Argentina and Latin America.

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United KingdomBiochemistChemist

Dorothy Maud Wrinch

Dorothy Maud Wrinch (1894-1976) was a prominent mathematician and biochemical theorist known for her groundbreaking work in deducing protein structure using mathematical principles. Born in Rosario, Argentina, she later moved to England and pursued her education in mathematics at Girton College, Cambridge. She played a significant role in supporting and promoting the work of Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Her contributions to the fields of mathematics and biochemistry continue to inspire scientists worldwide.

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New ZealandChemistIntersex

Eliana Rubashkyn

Eliana Rubashkyn is a New Zealand pharmacist and chemist who fought for her rights as an intersex person. Despite facing mistreatment and statelessness in Hong Kong, Rubashkyn demonstrated resilience and worked to support LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees. She eventually sought asylum in New Zealand, where she continues to advocate for the rights of the LGBTQI+ community.

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United StatesChemistLGBTQIA

Carolyn Bertozzi

Carolyn Ruth Bertozzi, born in 1966 in Boston, Massachusetts, is an American chemist and Nobel laureate. Her groundbreaking work bridges the fields of chemistry and biology, particularly in bioorthogonal chemistry. Throughout her career, Bertozzi has made significant contributions to the understanding of glycans and their role in diseases like cancer and viral infections. She has also been a prominent advocate for diversity and inclusivity in academia and science. In 2022, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBiochemist

Ida Stephens Owens

Ida Stephens Owens, a trailblazing American scientist, overcame adversity to become one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate from Duke University. Her groundbreaking research on drug-detoxifying enzymes at the National Institutes of Health has left an indelible mark on the field of biomedical research. Owens’ unwavering commitment and contributions continue to inspire future generations.

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NigerChemistEngineer

Aïssata Issoufou Mahamadou

Aïssata Issoufou Mahamadou is a Nigerien chemist, chemical engineer, mining specialist, and healthcare advocate. She served as the First Lady of the Republic of Niger from April 7, 2011, to April 2, 2021. A trailblazer for women in Niger in the sciences, she contributed significantly to the development of the mining sector. Aïssata Issoufou Mahamadou also worked to improve access to healthcare, empower women, and alleviate poverty in Niger. Her dedication has left a lasting impact.

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United StatesActivistChemist

Gretchen Kalonji

Gretchen Lynn Kalonji, born in 1953 in Chicago, Illinois, is an American materials scientist and academic administrator. Throughout her career, she has made significant contributions to the field of materials science and has held notable positions in academia and international organizations. Kalonji’s diverse upbringing and experiences in different cultures have shaped her perspectives and fostered her curiosity. She is also known for her activism, particularly in advocating against apartheid in South Africa.

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FranceChemistEngineer

Marcelle Lafont

Marcelle Lafont, born into a successful bourgeois family, broke with tradition to become a chemist, chemical engineer, member of the French Resistance, and politician. She achieved remarkable success in various fields and demonstrated immense bravery during World War II, earning her the Resistance Medal. Her exceptional achievements and unwavering determination serve as an inspiration for all.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBiochemist

Marie Maynard Daly

Marie Maynard Daly was an American biochemist who made significant contributions to the field of chemistry and medicine. She was the first African-American woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Her groundbreaking research on protein synthesis, hypertension, and muscle cells’ uptake of creatine deepened our understanding of biochemistry and paved the way for medical advancements. Daly’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity also played a vital role in inspiring underrepresented individuals to pursue careers in science.

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CanadaActivistChemist

Margaret Benston

Margaret “Maggie” Lowe Benston (1937–1991) was a professor of chemistry, computing science, and women’s studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She was a respected feminist and labour activist, as well as a founding member of various feminist organizations. Benston dedicated her life to promoting equality and justice, making significant contributions to academia and activism. Her groundbreaking work challenged societal norms and continues to shape women’s history.

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United KingdomChemist

Helen Sharman

Helen Patricia Sharman, CMG, OBE, HonFRSC, was born on May 30, 1963, in Grenoside, Sheffield. She became the first British astronaut and the first Western European woman to travel to space. Sharman’s remarkable journey broke barriers and inspired generations, exemplifying the endless possibilities for women in science and technology.

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United StatesAstronautChemist

Catherine Coleman

Cady Coleman, an American chemist and former NASA astronaut, has made significant contributions to space exploration. With expertise in chemistry and engineering, she has spent a total of 159 days in space and is a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions. Her pioneering work has inspired many, particularly women, to pursue careers in STEM fields.

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United KingdomChemistGeologist

Eileen Guppy

Eileen Mary Guppy was a pioneering British geologist, petrologist, and analytical chemist. She made significant contributions to the scientific community, focusing on petrology, analytical chemistry, and geological research. Despite facing gender-based discrimination throughout her career, Guppy’s dedication and determination paved the way for future female geologists. She was recognized for her 39 years of service with the Order of the British Empire, becoming the first female staff member to receive an MBE.

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United StatesChemistPhysicist

Katharine Burr Blodgett

Katharine Burr Blodgett was an American physicist and chemist who made significant contributions to the field of surface chemistry. She is best known for her invention of “invisible” or nonreflective glass while working at General Electric. Blodgett was a trailblazer in her field, becoming the first woman to be awarded a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge in 1926.

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PortugalArcherChemist

Branca Edmée Marques

Branca Edmée Marques de Sousa Torres, a prominent Portuguese specialist in nuclear technology, obtained her doctorate in Paris under the guidance of Marie Curie. She founded the Radiochemistry Laboratory in Lisbon and conducted groundbreaking research for over three decades. Branca’s expertise and dedication made her a leading figure in Portuguese radiochemistry.

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DenmarkChemistPhysicist

Margrete Heiberg Bose

Margrete Elisabeth Heiberg Bose was a remarkable physicist of Danish origin who made significant contributions to the field of science. She was born in Sorø, Denmark in 1865. Bose showed exceptional intellectual abilities from an early age and developed a keen interest in philosophy, mathematics, and chemistry.

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DenmarkAstronomerChemist

Sophia Brahe

Sophia Brahe, a Danish noblewoman and horticulturalist, defied societal expectations for a noblewoman and dedicated her life to the pursuit of knowledge and scientific discovery. Her contributions in astronomy, chemistry, and horticulture are significant, inspiring others and paving the way for future advancements in these fields.

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United KingdomArcherChemist

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Elsie Franklin was a British chemist and X-ray crystallographer known for her contributions to the understanding of molecular structures. Despite her significant work on DNA, her contributions were not fully recognized during her lifetime. Franklin’s research on coal and viruses, along with her discovery of key properties of DNA, played a crucial role in the accurate description of the structure of DNA known as the double helix.

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United KingdomChemistDoctor

Alice Vickery

Alice Vickery was an English physician and campaigner for women’s rights. She was the first British woman to qualify as a chemist and pharmacist, breaking gender barriers in the medical field. Vickery’s passion for medicine and social reform began to take shape as she grew up in South London. Throughout her life, she remained dedicated to challenging societal norms, advocating for social change, and empowering women. Her remarkable contributions continue to inspire and empower women to this day.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanChemist

Alma Levant Hayden

Alma Levant Hayden, an American chemist, was a pioneering figure in the field of science. Making significant contributions to spectroscopy, she became one of the first African-American women to hold a scientist position at a science agency in Washington, D.C. Her research on Krebiozen further contributed to increased drug safety regulations. Her achievements continue to inspire future generations in the field of chemistry.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanChemist

Bettye Washington Greene

Bettye Washington Greene was an American industrial research chemist who made significant contributions to the field of latex and polymers. Born and raised in a segregated community, she shattered barriers and became the first African American female Ph.D. chemist to work at the Dow Chemical Company. Throughout her career, she published important papers and filed for multiple patents, revolutionizing the field of latex technology. Her legacy as a trailblazer continues to inspire future generations of African American women in science.

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United KingdomChemistGeologist

Jane Plant

Jane Anne Plant CBE, FREng, FRSE, FRSA was a pioneering geochemist, scientist, and author. Despite facing significant health challenges, including multiple bouts with cancer, she made substantial contributions to the field of geochemistry and environmental health. Her research on the link between dairy and breast cancer and her development of the BGS Geochemical Baseline of the Environment (G-BASE) program have had lasting impacts on scientific understanding. Plant’s dedication and groundbreaking work earned her numerous accolades, including being appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1997.

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United StatesAviationBalloonist

Eleanor Vadala

Eleanor Vadala, born in 1923, was an American chemist, materials engineer, and balloonist. She made significant contributions to aviation materials research and played a crucial role in the development of synthetic materials for aircraft. Vadala’s pioneering work not only influenced the aviation industry but also paved the way for women in STEM fields.

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United StatesAstronautChemist

Tracy Caldwell Dyson

Tracy Caldwell Dyson, an American chemist and NASA astronaut, was born on August 14, 1969, in Arcadia, California. Her passion for science and exploration began at a young age, and she pursued her interests throughout her education. With a focus on atmospheric chemistry, Caldwell Dyson made significant contributions to our understanding of Earth’s atmosphere. She joined NASA in 1998 and went on to participate in two space missions, playing a vital role in the construction of the International Space Station and furthering scientific research. Her accomplishments have not only left a lasting impact on space exploration but have also inspired future generations.

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United StatesChemist

Anna Lee Fisher

Anna Lee Fisher, born Anna Lee Sims on August 24, 1949, is a renowned American chemist, emergency physician, and former NASA astronaut. Throughout her career, Fisher made significant contributions to the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and the Orion spacecraft programs. She holds the distinction of being the first mother to venture into space, solidifying her place as a pioneer in both space exploration and women’s history.

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