NASA Astronaut Kathryn Sullivan’s Pioneering Adventures in Space

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Dr. Kathryn Sullivan has an elite status among groundbreaking American women. In January 1978, she was selected by NASA as part of the first astronaut class to include females. "All six of us in that first batch of women felt a self-imposed pressure," Sullivan says in a 2017 interview for the multimedia project TIME Firsts. "One of us would be the first to fly, another would be the first to do a spacewalk—which only a small group of the Astronaut Corps gets to do. We knew our performance would have a big influence on the prospects of the women who would come after us."

As a matter of record, Sullivan was the third American woman to fly in space (Sally Ride and Judith Resnick flew before her). Yet, during her first flight, in October 1984, as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, she became the first American woman to perform a spacewalk.

We recently spoke with Sullivan about her illustrious career and her recent book, Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention. Read on to discover her pathway to space, gain insight into breaking into a traditionally male-dominated field, and benefit from wisdom about matters such as effective communication, leadership strategies, and the value of self-reflection.

Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of NASA

The cover of Kathryn Sullivan's book, Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention
The cover of Kathryn Sullivan's book, Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention

Sputnik Baby

Sullivan acquired a thirst for adventure at an early age. A self-described "Sputnik baby," she can recall peering into the night sky with her father, an aerospace engineer, in search of the passing Russian satellite that launched the Space Age, a day after she turned 6.

"The only thing we truly do alone is have the start of a good idea."

She credits her parents for inspiring a vein of curiosity in both her and her older brother. "They were remarkably good at letting us be co-learners and co-explorers with them," she explains, "even when we were way too young to contribute significantly. They helped us develop that "How to think things through" muscle, and not just be dazzled by something novel or new. We learned to develop the mental, intellectual capacity, and some confidence that you can encounter something new and say, 'Well, no, wait a minute. Let's figure this out,' and sort of engage it instead of shrink from it."

Shortly after searching for Sputnik from her front yard in New Jersey, Sullivan's father moved the family to California to further his aerospace career in the San Fernando Valley. Before long, he had joined the company flying club, and Sullivan's horizon opened to a world of aviation and adventure through stories about the fledgling NASA agency and the new space frontier in the pages of National Geographic and LIFE magazines.

Coupled with her passion for space flight was a fascination with maps and plotting navigational routes, skills that would become highly relevant to her future path as a geologist and oceanographer. Yet it was her innate ability for foreign languages that determined her initial educational path.

Shifting from Language to Science

As a foreign-language major in high school, Sullivan was well versed in French and German, before selecting the University of California at Santa Cruz for its outstanding Russian-language program. She was determined to live in a foreign country during a junior year abroad, and she dreamed of capitalizing on her language abilities to pursue a career in the Foreign Service.

During an initial meeting with her college advisor, Sullivan was troubled to learn that all freshmen were required to round out their studies with three courses from outside their major. "I argued fiercely against what I considered a needless delay on my path to Russian fluency and my dream life of exploration and adventure," she recounts in her book.

"The mandatory science courses foisted on me that day introduced me to the earth sciences—geology and oceanography, specifically—and to young faculty scientists who were living exactly the kind of inquisitive and adventurous life I had dreamt of for so many years."

"Luckily for me, I failed to win the argument," she concedes. "The mandatory science courses foisted on me that day introduced me to the earth sciences—geology and oceanography, specifically—and to young faculty scientists who were living exactly the kind of inquisitive and adventurous life I had dreamt of for so many years."

By the end of her freshman year, Sullivan had switched her major, setting her sights on a future in oceanography. She spent her junior year abroad, in Bergen, Norway, (acquiring yet another language) and pursued graduate work and PhD studies at Nova Scotia's Dalhousie University and the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Canada's premier Oceanographic Center.

While a focus on science was critical to Sullivan's future as an astronaut, she finds that her facility for languages has also been a valuable career asset, enabling her to connect with a wide variety of audiences.

"I think my early experience with the varying ways the same concept is expressed, either in different languages or different cultures, has given me an awareness about expressing myself when talking to an audience across language barriers," she explains.

Tell Us About Yourself… End of Instructions

It was Sullivan's brother who first suggested she apply for NASA's astronaut program during a holiday visit as she was completing her PhD. Although she initially dismissed the idea, a NASA recruiting ad soon made her realize that her training and skills in running oceanographic expeditions could translate well to missions in space.

She sent away for an application, filled it out, dropped it in the mail, and then promptly refocused on her dissertation and other potential jobs. Months later, after being invited to Houston for an initial round of meetings and tests, she found herself summarizing her qualifications in front of 14 experienced space professionals in the first job interview of her career.

Even at this early stage, Sullivan had a talent for distilling a complex subject down to its essence and presenting it clearly, without—to use an astronaut term—getting stuck in transmit.

Kathryn Sullivan (left) and Sally Ride (right) pretend to synchronize their watches while waiting to board the space shuttle Challenger, on October 5, 1984.
Kathryn Sullivan (left) and Sally Ride (right) pretend to synchronize their watches while waiting to board the space shuttle Challenger, on
October 5, 1984.

When asked for insights about effective communication methods, Sullivan's first take is that it really boils down to practice. Beyond this, she recommends the classic exercise of teasing a first sentence from the whole topic swirling in your head. She notes, "It's an onion layer habit, as I like to say. If you absolutely only get to say one sentence—period, full stop—then, what's that first sentence? And then, if you can only make three points about it, what are the first, most valuable, three points to make? And then you add three more, and another three, and so on."

While she points out that this might not be needed for informal circumstances, she notes, "It's a very important skill in a lot of professional settings. If you're in that astronaut interview, or in mission control as a capsule communicator, it's absolutely critical that the most essential information gets through clearly and is understood exactly. And so, it's a combination of what do I need to tell you and, what can I say to help set the context for what you're about to hear."

While this type of communication is one of Sullivan's strengths, it's a process that she never takes for granted. "Every time I take a first stab at something like this, the three-point memo or the one pager, I always go through it at least two or three times," she says. "Write it down, and make yourself distill it to a paragraph or to a page, over and over again. Trying to put it into one page helps me really think deeply about the most important parts to communicate."

Woman in a Man's World

As a PhD candidate, Sullivan spent much of her time in the male-dominated world of geological expeditions and deep-sea voyages, intrepid adventures that prepared her well for a NASA career, both through the skills she learned and in breaking the gender barrier.

While she never experienced harsh or threatening behavior at sea, Sullivan does recall instances of being discounted. "There was a tendency to discount junior people in general," she explains. "And I was early enough in the wave of women going into oceanography that it was more than a double discount."

Yet, as the sole woman aboard various Canadian ships, she was also given great opportunity. "Because I had shown an interest, and some capability, I was allowed on the bridge, and the bridge crews on the Canadian ships would let me take the navigation fixes, run the radar, plot the fixes, and even give commands to the helmsman. Now I was not genuinely in charge, I was being closely supervised," she points out. "But they were letting me learn the ropes by doing, to grow my understanding of how that ship handled and how it worked. Even as a scientist aboard, I think it's valuable for you to understand the ship and its capabilities, and the work of the bridge crew. It's going to help you be smarter about how to get your science done."

Crew of the ill-fated Challenger mission 51L in the launch pad white room after completing their countdown dress rehearsal. Four of the seven crew members lost in the Challenger disaster were part of Sullivan's astronaut class
Crew of the ill-fated Challenger mission 51L in the launch pad white room after completing their countdown dress rehearsal. Four of the seven crew members lost in the Challenger disaster were part of Sullivan's astronaut class.

Within the highly structured world of NASA's astronaut corps, the assimilation of Sullivan and her five female colleagues into the formerly all-male group became largely about a preoccupation among NASA leadership with certain practicalities. One high-level female administrator, Dr. Carolyn Huntoon, would prove a crucial ally to easing their way. "There are many anecdotes I know, not because I was party to them, but because Carolyn has shared some of her stories," Sullivan notes.

Incidental questions over such issues as dress code, marital status, the gym dressing room, and toiletry kits became the focus of much debate among key NASA administrators. "Carolyn was masterful at pitching all those things back at the gentlemen who were fretting over them," indicates Sullivan. "It was as if they were imagining, 'we, the officialdom of the Johnson Space Center, must know what to do about what the woman will wear.' Carolyn would counter with, 'Well, what do you tell male astronauts to wear?'"

The inevitable admission that no one would ever tell a male astronaut what he should wear, or intervene in personal decision-making, would ultimately lead Huntoon to conclude, "Well, I think you have your answer."

Training for Space Flight

The path to becoming an astronaut is cut with a dizzying array of physical and psychological tests, yet once selected, Sullivan notes that there was no formal fitness regime. "There was a simple expectation," she says, "that boiled down to, 'if we chose wisely and you really are as smart as we think you are, we surely don't need to be holding mandatory calisthenic classes. There's the gym, you know what the job is, figure it out.' So, it wasn't structured," she says.

However, she describes, "a very well acknowledged green light to get to the gym whenever you could. It put the onus and the trust on you to figure it out. So, if a meeting canceled or you had a blank spot in the middle of the day, no one was ever going to turn their head if you were not at your desk, because you've just had a moment to get to the gym and work out."

According to Sullivan, "It's the training regimen almost more than space flight that's going to tax you. It's a big job, it's a busy job. So be sure you have a lot of energy and stamina," she asserts.

Astronaut trainees are rotated through a wide array of technical assignments to learn the many different aspects of flight operations, mission planning, and engineering development. During her second rotation, Sullivan was assigned as a mission manager in NASA's high-altitude research aircraft program, which made her the first woman ever certified to wear a U.S Air Force pressure suit. Shortly after earning that certification, she was invited to assist in testing shuttle-era spacesuits in a neutral buoyancy tank.

Kathryn Sullivan aboard space shuttle Discovery during a short break in the complex process of suiting up.
Kathryn Sullivan aboard space shuttle Discovery during a short break in the complex process of suiting up.

As Sullivan notes, "All of this gear weighs a lot. The white space-walking suits weigh around 350 pounds on earth. It's a multilayer sandwich," she maintains. "So, if you were bending your arm because you need to push something, you've got to overcome the level of effort the suit itself requires, and then assert the force to do whatever the task was. So, it takes a high degree of muscular strength."

While wearing the orange pressure suit, Sullivan was clambering in and out of jet airplanes. Although normally worn unpressurized, "That suit is a safety guard so that if the cabin pressure failed, it would automatically inflate and protect you from the outside environment," she explains. "When inflated, you need a huge amount of core strength to flex forward and reach anything on your suit or on a control panel."

Besides being heavy and bulky, another factor to consider when wearing either suit is the fact that you'll be moving around in them for a long period of time. Says Sullivan, "From a psychological point of view, you need enough focus and discipline so the physical strength factor becomes relegated to the background, and you're completely able to focus on the task at hand."

Gearing Up for Pictures in Space

As a NASA astronaut, Sullivan had many opportunities to work with a wide variety of cameras and other high-end gear. In November 1981, while anxiously awaiting selection for a first space mission, she served as the chase plane photographer for Columbia's second flight, tasked with getting a complete photo swath at the bottom of the orbiter.

"All of this gear weighs a lot. The white space walking suits weigh around 350 pounds on earth. It's a multilayer sandwich."

This was the era of film photography, and Sullivan used a Hasselblad with a motor drive, a roll film back, and a 45-degree finder. "The right-angle finder was something on the order of five or six inches long, and I had a bubble canopy around me," she recalls. "I was also wearing a jet fighter pilot helmet, so I had to figure out how to point the camera sideways and compose the image. I played with that in our training, and it just seemed crazy to try and get my head around the right-angle finder, so I could compose the shot. With the 45-degree finder and the Hasselblad's 120-millimeter square format, I could solve this geometry problem by turning the camera on its side. It didn't matter which side of the film I lined the horizon up with. Once you get in the lab, you don't care which side of the frame is ground or sky."

While she doesn't recall the exact focal length of her lens, "it would have been a fairly wide-angle," she says. "We were quite close to the shuttle, 20 to 40 feet away, and it's a big airplane. But the task of getting a picture of the bottom of it, you've got to get that done as the jet you're in slides underneath from the left wing to the right. And that happens in a matter of seconds."

When asked about her thought process in readying herself to shoot, Sullivan comes straight to the point, responding, "Please don't let me screw this up."

Writing about the experience in her book, she elaborates, "Even though I only saw it through the viewfinder of my camera, a vivid image of Columbia flying right next to us against a backdrop of blue sky and tan California desert remains etched in my mind to this day."

Dave Leetsma (left) and Kathryn Sullivan (right) at the Orbital Refueling System worksite during their spacewalk aboard STS-41G. The Shuttle Imaging Radar antenna is on the left in the foreground.
Dave Leetsma (left) and Kathryn Sullivan (right) at the Orbital Refueling System worksite during their spacewalk aboard STS-41G. The Shuttle Imaging Radar antenna is on the left in the foreground.

Aboard the Space Shuttle, the crew had access to a variety of in-cabin gear used for documentation, including Hasselblads with a variety of lenses and pre-loaded roll film backs, a Linhof 4x5, and Nikon F4 35mm cameras that did require loading film in space. Arriflex 16-millimeter movie cameras were also used during Sullivan's first flight in 1984; however; by her second flight, in 1990, or her third, in 1992, "the early, big clunky camcorders were coming into play, as a complement to the Arriflex," she says.

During her first flight, the crew also had access to an IMAX cinema camera, to film scenes for the 1985 documentary "The Dream is Alive," which includes footage of Sullivan's spacewalk with fellow astronaut David Leestma. As Sullivan recounts in her book, a command for her to stop moving so a scene could be filmed allowed her precious time to admire the view of earth far below. "As soon as I lowered my gaze from my hands, I felt like I was hanging from a tree limb and looking down at the ground," she writes. "There, 140 miles (225 km) below me was South America and the Caribbean Sea. I watched in awe as the distinctive Maracaibo Peninsula of Venezuela slid between my boots."

As with all other aspects of space flight, astronauts were fully trained on the gear being used. "We had lots of opportunities to handle the gear and get familiar with how it felt and how to change lenses and film, Sullivan says. "We'd check cameras out and take them around and shoot with them at home, as well as on training flights. And as flight simulations got more and more detailed and refined, we'd have all the photo gear stowed in the same configuration as on the shuttle."

"Even though I only saw it through the viewfinder of my camera, a vivid image of Columbia flying right next to us against a backdrop of blue sky and tan California desert remains etched in my mind to this day."

She also recalls, "At some point, NASA contracted Nikon to come down and put us through a training course, which of course, had a strong emphasis on the technical aspects of picture making. All the photo equipment on the shuttle was onboard for the purposes of photo documentation," she points out, "not so that astronauts could have fun being artistic photographers."

Yet, Nikon's course also covered, "some of the more artistic aspects of composition and lighting. Not just taking a picture of what's there but creating an image of what you see."

The commander of her first flight, Robert Crippin, was in attendance for some of this training. "At one point," she says, "as the instructor was talking about the artistic effects of this or that or the other, I remember Crippin waving his hands going, 'No, no. No art, no art.'"

Today's Image-Making Tools

Sullivan still does a respectable amount of photography today. "From the DSLR point of view, I've long been a Canon gal," she says. Her 35mm camera gear includes an early 2000s-era digital body with a handful of zoom lenses, from slightly wide to low telephoto. More recent acquisitions include a Sony a6000 with a couple of lenses and a Sony RX 100-series mirrorless.

"Sometimes when I'm going off on adventurous trips, like walking around the Arctic or the Antarctic, I'm in the mood to take heavy-duty photo gear and set myself the task of really working on a great bird photo or a subject like that," Sullivan notes. "And, at other times, I really want to be in the moment and not just in the camera. But within the past couple of years, I suppose I've been trying to split the difference."

These days she generally takes pictures either, "for the fun of capturing memories or to play with light and composition," explaining, "to capture people and memories, I want to carry a simpler shooting mechanism."

This, no doubt, contributed to her decision to bring only her iPhone on a recent Antarctic trip. "While it limits some photographic options with distant nature shots, on the other hand, I enjoy the challenge of focusing on light and composition," she attests, "and not having the ability to brute force my way through a 2000-millimeter zoom."

All told, Sullivan finds that photography's ultimate appeal is more about doing than looking back. She says, "I usually do it for the fun of shooting, not for the hours of post-processing. If I get all the way through editing my photos into a more rational set, and doing a mild bit of straightening, it's an extraordinary day."

On Leadership

Over the course of her NASA career, Sullivan worked with legions of people as part of complex teams, which has given her rare insights into the dynamics of leadership and teamwork. Half of my NASA class was comprised of experienced, quite seasoned, very successful military officers," she says. "So, my first closest look was of a classically male, military, competitive, cultural style of leadership."

In this type of dynamic, the onus is on each person. "You'll step up to the challenge, demonstrate that you could meet the challenge," she explains. "It's a little like two kids racing towards the street corner, where one jabs the other and says, 'Bet you can't, I'll get there before you.'"

During her early years at NASA, Sullivan viewed the, 'I'll beat you on this one,' leadership style as coming from an ego point of view. "But as I got to know the NASA environment and some of my colleagues more, I realized oftentimes, the motive behind that little jab in the ribs could also be expressed in a constructive way," she notes. "Where we're in something together and it's important, we've got to do it well. It's got to succeed, and we should rouse each other up to our very best performance level. Spark some anger, spark the 'I'll show you' kind of assertive response. There's truth in that. It absolutely can work," she admits. "But it's not a complete universal story."

Artist's rendering of Hubble's modular architecture and key On-Orbit Replaceable Units
Artist's rendering of Hubble's modular architecture and key On-Orbit Replaceable Units

In the bigger picture, she views this leadership style as coming from a somewhat narrow cultural lens. Over time, she came to realize, "It's not the style of driving towards excellence that's going to get the best out of me in the long run." She notes, "I felt like it required me to filter and edit some of my personal qualities that I believed were strong parts of what I could bring to the table."

Referencing the standard adage, 'If your only tool is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail,' Sullivan points out, "If that jabbing, antagonistic style is the only leadership tool you've got, that's what everyone you work with is going to get. It will draw good stuff out of many people," she adds, "but I think you may miss many dimensions of talent if you only have that one tool."

"We're in something together and it's important, we've got to do it well. It's got to succeed, and we should rouse each other up to our very best performance level."

In recent years, Sullivan has offered the following advice about recognizing how to lead to young people she has worked with. "Pay close attention to everyone around you, both above and below you, in every work environment," she explains. "Because they're all showing you some model, some style, some way of going about things. They're each mentoring you in a little way. It doesn't have to be a formal agreement. They're a model you can study and take some lessons from."

Then, reaching beyond this observational mode, she suggests creating two columns on a piece of paper to track what you've observed from the various people you encounter. In the first column, write down the things that person has done or the qualities they have that you hope to emulate. The second column is for philosophical misfits that you want to be aware of and avoid modeling into the same behavior yourself.

"Keep those lists as you watch people around you, because you'll find that it helps you sharpen your senses," she counsels. "If and when you end up in charge of something, leading something, you can use it as a guide."

The Start of a Good Idea

The Hubble Space Telescope plays a central role in Sullivan's book, with the story behind it shedding light on the complex network of scientists, engineers, and other key players involved in creating, launching, repairing, and maintaining this extraordinary research tool. As a crew member of the 1990 Space Shuttle flight that delivered Hubble to space, Sullivan narrates this story from a privileged vantage point.

View from the aft-facing windows of the Space Shuttle Discovery during the 1990 mission to deliver the Hubble Space Telescope to orbit. Pictured above: Astronaut Steve Hawley grapples Hubble with the shuttle's robotic arm.
View from the aft-facing windows of the Space Shuttle Discovery during the 1990 mission to deliver the Hubble Space Telescope to orbit. Pictured above: Astronaut Steve Hawley grapples Hubble with the shuttle's robotic arm.

No aspect of this epic tale is more dramatic than the events that transpired after the discovery of a miniscule miscalculation to one of Hubble's mirrors, which caused the telescope to transmit decidedly blurry images. To set the scene, Sullivan notes, "A school bus-sized object is flying around the planet at 17,500 miles an hour, and the mirror is off by about 0.03 millimeter. In the aftermath of finding out the mirror was flawed, there were weeks and weeks and weeks of meetings, with probably a hundred people gathered together trying to figure out what we could do."

"Pay close attention to everyone around you, both above and below you, in every work environment. Because they're all showing you some model, some style, some way of going about things. They're each mentoring you in a little way."

Sullivan's favorite adage, 'The only thing we truly do alone is have the start of a good idea,' is crystallized in the example of a single engineer, "with months' worth of information and brainstorming swirling around in his head," says Sullivan. "He was the lucky soul to get that flash of insight during his morning shower, which connected a few pieces. He moved the shower head up the little vertical pole, and adjusted the angle and thought, 'Oh wait, I could put a pole like that in the middle inside corner of one of Hubble's science instruments and run a bunch of mirrors out of it.' So, he had the start of the idea that saved Hubble," she asserts. "But, that was still just an inkling. His flash of insight was right on the mark, but then it had to get turned into a big unit, and then things had to get fabricated, and NASA and everybody else had to be persuaded that this would actually work, and then you had to get the money."

Adding further perspective to the complexity involved in going from sudden insight to an ultimate solution, Sullivan says, "In the kinds of arenas that I've worked in, to completely express and execute an idea, it's unlikely that you'd have all the technical knowledge you need. It's unlikely that all the necessary expertise, and tools and equipment or supplies sit in a single organization. It's unlikely that you're in charge of all of it. So, to actually turn that idea into something real is going to take the coming together of a variety of other people, to get the right mixture of expertise, to get the intellectual ferment and, in many if not most cases, to muster key political and financial support, so your idea can really be flushed out and refined into a plan that you can execute, or a design that you could actually build."

A Path to New Opportunities

In 1993, Sullivan left NASA to accept an appointment as chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She has since served as NOAA's Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, as well as in positions of president and CEO of COSI, a science museum and research center in Columbus, Ohio, and director of the Battelle Center for Mathematics and Science Education Policy, at Ohio State University.

Her transitions through these various roles has offered her many insights about assessing one's skills and applying them to new opportunities. To end our interview, Sullivan offered two general points that she still pays attention to and uses herself.

"The first is, it's your job to be the translator, and the second is, there come times when no one can speak more truthfully and accurately about your capabilities than you," she notes, "and that is not synonymous with bragging."

Within the context of moving on from the position as a NASA astronaut, she explains, "If I wrote my resume with all the language and terminology of the jobs I had done at NASA, no one would have any idea whatsoever what that meant I could do."

Sullivan had an active role in the invention of this Articulating Portable Foot Restraint, developed initially for Hubble Space Telescope maintenance tasks, and with minor later modifications in use on the International Space Station. Photo by Mark Avino, Source: National Air and Space Museum
Sullivan had an active role in the invention of this Articulating Portable Foot Restraint, developed initially for Hubble Space Telescope maintenance tasks, and with minor later modifications in use on the International Space Station. Photo by Mark Avino, Source: National Air and Space Museum

She elaborates, "It was my job, and a very important self-reflection and growth exercise by the way, to step back and think everything through. What did my job labels actually involve? What did I actually have to do? What did I need to know? What skills? What character?" she asks. "Break it down that way."

To further clarify, she presents specific details about her astronaut duties. "Astronauts don't actually run anything. They're not fully in charge and supervising anything other than themselves and their own performance. Yet you're in this iconic role. You're in a very influential role. You play a part in being the unifying glue that brings everything together, but you don't supervise. You're working with hundreds of people. They all belong to different organizations. They all report to different bosses. None of them reports to you. You don't write a performance appraisal on any of them. You can't dock their pay. So, you actually have no classical managerial control over any of these people," she points out, "but you have a very important responsibility to drive, and lead, and focus their efforts. You really have to learn how to lead, because you don't have the means to manage."

While the role of astronaut occupies an entirely different realm than most other job opportunities, this exercise can still be effectively applied across the board. "So, do that translation, and then think about what it means you can do," says Sullivan, reassuringly. "When you break it down that way, you'll get at a set of skills or abilities that are much more transportable, much more in demand, much more valuable to many organizations in all sorts of different fields. But, it's not the job of the person reviewing your resume to figure that out. It's your job to think it out and translate it for them."

NASA Astronaut (retired) Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan posed in front of a scale model of a planet. Photo: Debbie Rowe
NASA Astronaut (retired) Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan posed in front of a scale model of the moon. Photo: Debbie Rowe

However, the work doesn't end there. "Then do the second part," Sullivan urges, "which is to do enough homework on what, and who you are talking to. What is their organization? What is their set of challenges? And make the case. You need to make the argument affirmatively: 'This here is why I am a good fit for what you need.' That's on you."

For further information about, or to purchase the book Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention, click here.

On April 24, 2020, the Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 30th anniversary. Click here for details about celebratory events and other Hubble resources.

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