Astronaut Anna Fisher: The First Mom in Space (Photos)

Raising the Bar

Science History Images/Alamy

Astronaut Anna Fisher joined NASA in 1978 and became the first mother to fly in space when she launched on her space shuttle mission. See photos from her space career here. She retired from NASA in 2017.

This Photo: Anna Lee Fisher was part of the first group of women announced by NASA as astronaut candidates in 1978.

Discovery Crew


On November 12, 1984, the Discovery Crew — from left to right astronauts David M. Walker, Dale A. Gardner, Anna Lee Fisher, Frederick H. (Rick) Hauck and Joseph P. Allen — celebrate a successful mission.

Opening a Door


The first female astronaut candidates (ASCANS) named by NASA photographed with a model of the NASA shuttle — from left to right, Rhea Seddon, Anna L. Fisher, Judith A. Resnik, Shannon W. Lucid, Sally K. Ride and Kathryn D. Sullivan — during a January 31, 1978 press conference at Johnson Space Center. Along with these six women, 14 other mission specialist candidates and 15 pilot astronaut candidates were introduced to the press at the Teague Auditorium.

Training for the Big Day

San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive

Anna Lee Fisher, seen here in Houston, Texas, served on STS-51A in 1984 as a mission specialist.

Flight Experience

San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive

Astronaut Anna Lee Fisher completed a year of training before being eligible to fly as a mission specialist on space shuttle flight crews. Anna Lee Fisher was the first mother to go into space.

Training and Experience

San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive

Astronaut Anna Lee Fisher completed many different assignments once her training ended. She was crew representative for both support development and testing of the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) and payload bay door contingency spacewalk procedures, the extra-small Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) and contingency in-orbit Thermal Protection System (TPS) repair hardware and procedures and more for pre-STS-1 through STS-4. She was also crew evaluator for verification and development testing for STS-2, 3 and 4.

Before NASA

San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive

Before joining the NASA program, Anna Lee Fisher earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Doctor of Medicine from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 1971 and 1976, respectively; received a Master of Science in Chemistry from UCLA, 1987. During STS-5, 6 and 7 she served as a physician in the recovery helicopter and helped create rescue procedures.

Microgravity Training

NASA Johnson Space Center

Floating in weightlessness is a must-have skill for astronauts. Her, Anna Fisher practices the skill in a NASA training plane.

Anna Fisher Practices Robotic Arm Training


During STS-51A shuttle mission in November 1980, astronaut Anna Fisher flew the space shuttle Discovery's robotic arm to support the retrieval of two malfunctioning satellites, and the deployment of two new communications satellites. Seen here, Fisher practices robotic arm work for the mission.

Anna Fisher: Mission Patch


Astronaut Anna Fisher launched into space on the space shuttle Discovery on Nov. 8, 1984 to become NASA's first mom in space. The mission, seen launching here, was STS-51A and was crewed by Fisher, commander Frederick Hauck, pilot David Walker and mission specialists Dale Gardner and Joseph Allen. The mission deployed the Canadian satellite Telesat-H (Anik) and the U.S. defense communications satellite SYNCOM IV-I (LEASAT01). The astronauts also retrieved two malfunctioning satellites, PALAPA-B2 and WESTAR-VI.

Flying in Space


NASA astronaut Anna Lee Fisher works on board the flight deck of the space shuttle Discovery in November 1984.

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

Christine Lunsford joined the team in 2010 as a freelance producer and later became a contributing writer, covering astrophotography images, astronomy photos and amazing space galleries and more. During her more than 10 years with, oversaw the site's monthly skywatching updates and produced overnight features and stories on the latest space discoveries. She enjoys learning about subjects of all kinds.