Groundbreaking Mission Takes Women Astronauts Out of This World

March 29, 2019 Industry News

Image Source: NASA

As a finish to Vaughn College’s celebration of Women’s History Month, we present this blog about Expedition 57―the first space mission where the only two astronauts representing the United States were both female.

Setting the pace

Launched on June 6, 2018, Expedition 57 began a 197-day mission where it circled the globe 3,152 times, covering 83.3 million miles. The crew consisted of expedition Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), Soyuz Commander Sergey Prokopyev, Oleg Kononenko (RSA), and David Saint-Jacques (CSA). Completing―and distinguishing―this crew were NASA flight engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor and NASA astronaut Anne McClain. Together, they formed a highly successful―and fun―space-traveling team.

Science in the making

Fondly referred to as a “world-class orbiting laboratory,” the Expedition 57 crew worked aboard the International Space Station (ISS), where they contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, and physical and Earth science. Some exciting discoveries on this space mission included investigations into new cancer treatment methods, algae growth in space, and the installation of a new Life Sciences Glovebox, which is a sealed work area for life science and technology investigations that can accommodate two astronauts. And look at which two crew members were diligently at work in the ISS robotics workstation! The two United States female astronauts made history for women in space.

Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Anne McClain










Image Source: NASA

Timeless activities

The Expedition 57 space mission was all about science―but not without some fun thrown in for good measure. To lighten the mood, the crew had no problem showing off their personalities by d­ressing up in costumes on Halloween. They might have missed out on trick-or-treating, but they wasted no time relaying photos back to Earth to give everyone a good laugh.

Expedition 57 Halloween










Image Source:

The crew returned to Earth on December 20, 2018, closing out a groundbreaking trip which conducted many successful experiments.

The momentum of women empowering other women―along with recognition of their achievements and successes―motivates them to reach for their dreams. Many of us might not make it to the stars as Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Anne McClain did, but our confidence can lead us to our own happy place.

Visit Our Open House on Saturday, April 13

Are you a woman interested in a career in aviation? Register for our Open House on April 13 at 10 a.m. to learn how you can take your future to the skies.