Boeing Starliner toTake a an Icon to Space on Friday

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The First Boeing Starliner Passenger Pays Tribute to Gender Equity Icon

No, she’s not Buster. And she’s not any of the other dummies we may wish were being jettisoned into space (particularly the ones in suits who run things). This particular dummy wears a red bandana and represents cultural change toward gender equity. Her name is Rosie, and she’s named after the iconic “Rosie the Riveter.” The inspiration for her name comes from an era when women ran the aerospace industry. So there’s a bit of poetic symmetry to the choice. 

Rosie The Riveter

Rosie the Riviter

Poster. “We Can Do It!” or Rosie, the Riveter. 1985.0851.05.

I know, I know. This is an astronomy site. Not a history site. But this is important; so bear with me for just a moment. If you’re unaware of the story behind Rosie the Riveter, it’s worth a recap. The TL:DR is, during World War II, when most American men (who almost exclusively held factory jobs at the time) were sent off to war. So many of the factories that we needed to make things like bombs, tanks, guns, munitions, ships, and of course, airplanes.

In fact, Boeing itself produced nearly a third of all American aircraft during the war. And strong women built those aircraft. Strong women who—despite being second-class citizens and being paid a fraction of the money—stepped up. They proved for all history that when we include half of the population in our problem-solving processes rather than excluding them, we can achieve greatness. Okay. End of feminist rant. 

The important thing is that Rosie has continued to inspire women to greatness since her inception. And now, a physical version of Rosie symbolically represents the achievements of women in the aerospace industry. She also symbolizes America’s commitment to put the first woman on the Moon. Of course, the Boeing Starliner doesn’t fit into NASA’s Artemis plans at the moment. However, both the NASA administrator and the Vice President repeatedly talk about sending the first woman to the Moon in 2024. 

What About The Boeing Starliner Launch?

Well, that’s happening on Friday (December 20th). Boeing’s done things a bit differently than their main competitor, SpaceX. Both companies are building crew capsules designed to ferry astronauts to the ISS. SpaceX has already sent an uncrewed version of its capsule, Dragon, to the space station a few times now. Friday’s launch will be the first such launch for the Boeing Starliner.

Beyond Symbolism

Rosie the Rocketeer (her obviously more appropriate name) is going to provide both NASA and Boeing with valuable test data. She’s a state of the art Anthropomorphic Test Device (ATD). During her trip to the ISS, she’ll use an incredible variety of sensors to measure all sorts of biometric data. These critical data will help ensure safety when Boeing launches its first crewed missions next year (fingers crossed).

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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