Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More

Mom in Space: Ellen Ripley (Alien) & Anna Fisher (NASA) 40 Years Ago


This year is becoming a blockbuster year for
celebrating anniversaries in real life and at the movie theater. The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 manned
moon landing in 1969, as celebrated in the biopic First Man and the documentary Apollo
11. The 40th anniversary of Alien introduced
the kick-ass heroine, Ellen Ripley, in 1979. Six months before Alien became a hit at the
movie theater, NASA selected Anna Lee Fisher to be one of six woman astronauts for the
space shuttle program in 1979. Did you know that Ripley and Fisher were both
moms in space? (cinematic music) My name is C.D. Reimer and welcome to my channel. Please comment, like, and subscribe, and click
on the notification bell to see more videos like this. My initial idea for this video was about NASA’s
first all-female spacewalk with astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch outside of
the International Space Station. NASA cancelled the all-female spacewalk a
few days later because there was only one medium torso among the four spacesuits on
the International Space Station. The other available medium torso was, quite
literally, out to the dry cleaners on Earth. The spacewalk went on with astronauts Christina
Koch in a medium torso and Nick Hague in a large torso. After sending 500 men into space, NASA still
has problems with women in space. If that was not bad enough, Vice President
Mike Pence demanded from NASA that the first woman and the next man on the moon be American
astronauts launched on an American rocket from American soil in the next five years. Never mind that the America First approach
to space does not include budget increases for NASA to return to the moon sooner than
2028 and design new spacesuits to accommodate different size astronauts of the opposite
sex. While researching this topic, I came across
an essay by Taylor Page about the similarities between Ellen Ripley in Alien and Anna Fisher
being selected by NASA in 1979. The two women, fictional and real, redefined
the traditional female archetype to become role models in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They were gender minorities in male-dominated
industries. Ripley was an aerospace engineer and one of
two women working on the doomed space tug when it came across the distress signal from
LV-426 and the nearly indestructible xenomorph. Fisher had a master’s degree in chemistry
when only 25% of chemists were woman at the time. They were both third in command for their
space assignments. After the captain and the executive office,
Ripley was third in command as the warrant officer. Fisher was a mission specialist and the third
in command on board the Discovery for STS-51-A in November 1984, launching two satellites
into orbit and retrieving two satellites from orbit. Both were moms in space. Something that the essay revealed was what
happened before the events in Alien. Ripley violated “regulations by allowing a
natural pregnancy to come to term” and her assignment on the space tug was “a renegotiation
of her contract” to spend time with her daughter. Maternal instincts will become a big part
of Ripley’s character in future Alien movies. Fisher was the first American mom to go into
space, having two daughters prior to her spaceflight and taking an eight-year leave from NASA to
raise them before returning to the agency as a manager. For the record, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova
in 1963 was the not only the first woman in space but also the first mother in space. The essay noted that “Ripley served as one
of the first non-sexualized leading independent women in cinema”. (ba-dum-tss sound) Sigourney Weaver who played Ripley initially
defended the underwear scene in an interview: “‘Are you kidding? After five days of blood and guts, and fear,
and sweat and urine, do you think Ripley wouldn’t take off her clothes?'” After receiving negative fan mail about the
underwear scene and seeing how traditional Hollywood scripts were towards women, she
would think twice about taking off her clothes for a movie. Of course, that was 40 years ago and the times
are different today. (fail sound) Links to third-party websites mentioned in
this video can be found in the related article on my website at www.cdreimer.com. Thank you for watching. (cinematic music)

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