Hours before NASA's Artemis 2 moon crew reveal, I saw a neat slice of space history

Dec 21, 2019
"The Artemis 2 crew will include Christina Koch and Black astronaut Victor Glover, providing more equitable representation than Apollo did across all of its missions."

Quit implying racism and sexism in the early years of NASA! The early astronauts equitably "represented" ALL Americans, not just those they physically resembled. Every one of them had to meet the qualifications that had been established for Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, among which were a minimum number of hours of piloting time in high-performance military jet aircraft. There were few African-Americans who met those minimums (whether THAT was due to MILITARY racism is an arguable point) and NO women at all!

Ed Dwight was one black Air Force officer who was hand-picked to be an astronaut, but his selection by Bobby Kennedy was rightly seen as a publicity stunt, since he had minimal flight time, and so was objectively less-qualified than anyone who had to that point been selected as an astronaut (as well as many applicants who had NOT been selected.) A better-qualified (or actually qualified) black pilot was Robert Lawrence Jr. An experienced test pilot with more than 2000 hours of jet time, he was selected as America's first black astronaut for the Air Force MOL program. When MOL was cancelled, he would no doubt have joined NASA in its Group 7 class with the other MOL astronauts, but died in the crash of an F-104.

Until the late 1970s, there were NO female military pilots with experience in high performance jets; Jerrie Cobb, the MOST experienced pilot of the so-called "Mercury 13" women, had ZERO jet time. (Yes, this disparate treatment by the U.S. military prevented women from being qualified for selection as astronauts, but it also prevented any women from being shot down in combat, which was seen as a good thing in those ignorant days.)

The current obsession with "intersectionality" leads to notice of "the first lesbian Navaho Mormon astronaut" as some kind of historic achievement, only to be forgotten in the later glare of the historic flight of "the first LEFT-HANDED lesbian Navaho Mormon astronaut." Such foolishness simply raises suspicions of whether the person was selected BECAUSE of those characteristics, rather than relevant qualifications. With a large pool of qualified applicants of all races, both men and women (and with qualifications less limiting than in those early days; see for example Chista McAuliffe) these days it can be assumed that anyone selected for a mission is qualified, but whether they are the MOST qualified among the whole astronaut corps is at least an open question.

Was there ANY doubt that there would be at least one woman and one minority astronaut selected for Artemis 2? If there was no obsession with their race and sex, it would be ASSUMED that these are the four MOST-qualified astronauts. But the concentration on stupid and irrelevant physical details ("first woman", "first black", "first Canadian", "first left-handed lesbian Navaho Mormon") calls that excellence into question, and is an insult to the hard work and excellence of ALL of them, even (or especially) those who do fit into some woke "intersectionality" pigeonhole.

Congratulations to Christina Koch, Victor Glover, Jeremy Hansen, AND Reid Wiseman. Your selection as Artemis astronauts is glory enough, and only an idiot would cheapen it by giving a damn about your race, sex, or any other IRRELEVANT characteristic.
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