• Oklahoma and Green Country have their own ties to Space

    By: Megan McClellan

    Updated:

    Quick Facts:

    • Oklahoma is home to 7 astronauts
    • Many other Oklahomans have helped progress Space exploration
    • There are many behind the scenes that aren't recognized in our history, if you know of someone that has helped with space exploration from Oklahoma, send FOX23 Meteorologist Megan McClellan an email!

     

    Whether you are interested in Space or just love history, there are several ties to space in Oklahoma.

    The 50th anniversary of the famous Apollo 11 mission launching is July 16, 2019. Just four days later, Apollo 11 landed on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin making history to be the first people on the moon.

    As the 50th anniversary nears, many organizations are celebrating this event including NASA, who restored the mission control from that era of space travel.

    NASA has been celebrating and discussing the milestone for the space program. FOX23 Meteorologist Megan McClellan spoke with a scientist from NASA about things they've learned from Apollo 11 and the upcoming Artemis mission.

    FOX23 decided to dig into Oklahoma's history with space exploration.

    New Exhibits

    It isn't just people that ties Oklahoma and Tulsa to the space program - in fact, parts of the Saturn V rocket that launched the astronauts into space were made here in Tulsa.

    There is also a new exhibit at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum allowing people to travel through time and learn about the Apollo missions (including Apollo 11).

    Oklahomans in Space

    Oklahoma is home to seven astronauts including one that provided support for Apollo 11 (William Pogue).

    Check out this gallery of Oklahoma astronauts!

    It isn't just astronauts that Oklahoma is home to. Many other Oklahomans have helped with the exploration of space along with equipment design.

    Carole Ann McLemore

    Carole McLemore at the Marshall Space Flight Center
    Carole McLemore at the Marshall Space Flight Center
    Courtesy: NASA

    McLemore ties to space and NASA go back to 1985 but her ties to Oklahoma go back to birth. She was born in Tulsa in 1960.

    She started at NASA as an engineer, helping design the International Space Station and now continues to work with NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center.

    James Webb

    Dr. James E. Webb, NASA Administrator
    Dr. James E. Webb, NASA Administrator
    Courtesy: NASA

    Dr. James Webb became the NASA administrator under President John F. Kennedy in 1961 less than a decade after he moved to Oklahoma City (1953). He spent much of his time driving for support from Washington, DC to get man on the moon. 

    Jerry Elliot

    Jerry Elliot worked in Mission Control during Apollo 11
    Jerry Elliot worked in Mission Control during Apollo 11
    Courtesy: NASA

    Jerry Elliott was born in Oklahoma City, he is a Cherokee and Osage Indian.

    He became an engineer for NASA in 1966 working on the Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs. During the Apollo 11 mission, he was working in Mission Control.

    Donna Shirley

    Donna Shirley with one of the Mars rover models
    Donna Shirley with one of the Mars rover models
    Courtesy: NASA

    Donna Shirley was born in Pauls Valley in 1941.

    She became the Mars Program Manager in 1994, helping get the first rover on Mars in 1997.

    Velma Clark

    Velma Clark was born in Custer City in 1910. She graduated from Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) with a degree in Journalism.

    In 1968, she started working with NASA on writing, editing and proofing NASA handbooks.

    Wiley Post

    Born in Maysville, Wiley Post wanted to fly his plane higher in the sky but couldn't due to the pressure. So with the help from the BF Goodrich company, he made a pressurized suit. This suit would eventually lead to the suits that astronauts used to help survive in space.

    Geraldyn Cobb

    Geraldyn Cobb (aka Jerrie Cobb).
    Geraldyn Cobb (aka Jerrie Cobb).
    Courtesy: NASA

    Geraldyn Cobb (known as Jerrie) was born in Norman in 1931. She was the first woman astronaut trainee in 1960 and consulted on the future use of women astronauts but in 1963, NASA decided not to use women so Cobb resigned and went into humanitarian work.

     

     

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