Space Forum April 20: The New Guys

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The National Space Society invites you to the next Space Forum

Thursday, April 20, 2023, 9:00 pm to 10:15 pm EST

THE NEW GUYS: The Historic Class of Astronauts That Broke Barriers and Changed the Face of Space Travel


Meredith Bagby - The New Guys
Author Meredith Bagby
Partner, Big Swing Productions

In 1978, NASA announced its first class of civilian astronauts, opening its ranks to candidates beyond white male fighter pilots. Among them were: the first American woman, African American, Asian American, Jewish person, mother, LGBTQ+ person, and married couple. Now, in THE NEW GUYS: The Historic Class of Astronauts That Broke Barriers and Changed the Face of Space Travel, Meredith Bagby shares the never-before-told stories of “the new guys,” (a nickname given by their military predecessors), a class of pioneers who shattered glass ceilings, overcame racial barriers, and literally changed the face of space travel.

Meredith researched oral histories, congressional hearings, investigative reports, and had exclusive access to and the cooperation of three of the first American women in space—Kathy Sullivan, Anna Fisher, and Rhea Seddon—and tells their captivating story of the race to be the first woman in space. As well, Bagby shares the challenges of the first African American men to fly, Guy Bluford and Fred Gregory. The astronauts in the class of 1978, which also included the late Sally Ride, broke barriers, became iconic household names, and ushered in the Shuttle program that remains the most difficult undertaking in the history of NASA. They tragically lost three of the twelve New Guys in the 1986 Challenger disaster, and faced the 2003 Columbia tragedy, forever altering the way humans think of space travel. The result is a remarkable story as nuanced and vibrant as its cast.

Running parallel to their story is the extraordinary four-decade-long history of the shuttle itself. Conceived in the 1960s, the space shuttle was an ambitious new vehicle that would launch like a rocket, haul like a truck, and land like a plane. It would be NASA’s most ambitious technical achievement. “The New Guys” pioneered the NASA’s Space Shuttle Program through its triumphs and tragedies, defining a generation of space travel and helping to build the dream of a new American century in space that brings all of the human race along.

Meredith’s presentation will highlight many of these behind the scenes aspects that occurred at a pivotal point in our nation’s space program. Don’t miss this exciting and informative look back. As virtual door prizes, we will be randomly selecting 4 attendees to receive an autographed copy of The New Guys. Register for the space forum today.

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Meredith Bagby is a nonfiction writer and a partner at Big Swing Productions, a film and TV production company. Her previous books include We’ve Got Issues, Rational Exuberance, and The Annual Report of the United States of America. Bagby was a senior film development executive at DreamWorks SKG, a political reporter and producer for CNN, and a teaching fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. Her education includes Columbia Law School and Harvard College.

Register today to reserve your seat and ask your questions. Use the link below.

Register no later than April 20 at 8 pm EST

Past NSS Space Forums and Town Halls may be viewed here.


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