MechE professor discusses his experience as part of first NASA mission to include female and nonwhite astronauts in PBS39 and WLVR programs

Terry Hart, a professor of practice in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics and a former NASA astronaut, took part in a virtual event on the topic of women and the space program, presented by PBS39. 

The event, held in March during Women’s History Month, included a screening of “The Future is Female: Women, Space and NASA” (a preview of upcoming PBS39 documentary special “Moon-to-Mars: The Next Giant Leap”) and a panel discussion.

Hart, who appears in the documentary, discussed the evolving role of women in space exploration and shared his experience on the first mission to include female and nonwhite astronauts. 

“It was exciting and challenging and an honor to be a part of that first group,” he said. 

Hart's commentary is also part of a WLVR radio segment celebrating female astronauts: “There were six women in the group. One of them was my office mate for four years, Sally Ride. She was so excited about the prospect of flying in space, not so much about being the first woman, but just to have the opportunity to go to space. She was truly an explorer," he said.

A Lehigh alum (Class of 1968), Hart has also served as a US Air Force fighter pilot and worked as a telecommunications executive. He joined the Rossin College faculty in 2004. He was aboard the STS 41-C Challenger and operated the IMAX camera for the feature The Dream is Alive (1985). Hart is also a current FAA Certified Flight Instructor, and a member of AIAA, IEEE, Tau Beta Pi, and Sigma Xi.

Follow the links to watch the presentation and listen to the radio program

Terry Hart

Hart was a member of NASA’s “Group 8”—the first selection of space shuttle astronaut candidates in nine years—and later joined NASA’s 11th space shuttle mission aboard the STS 41-C Challenger, launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 6, 1984.

Terry Hart

As a professor of practice in the mechanical engineering and mechanics department, Hart has developed several new courses in aircraft and spacecraft engineering in support of the department’s aerospace minor. (Photo: Christa Neu)