Jackson, MO native and NASA astronaut reminisces on her career

Updated: Aug. 7, 2017 at 9:46 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, MO (KFVS) - Many people pass by the river wall in Cape Girardeau and never take a second look at the people on the wall. Included on it is Jackson Native and NASA Astronaut Dr. Linda Godwin.

Now Godwin is a professor of Astrology and Physics at the University of Missouri. There are times where the fact she was in space still surprises her.

"It sometimes seems like did I do that," Godwin asked herself. "Yeah, I got to do that."

Her NASA career was around 30 years and spanned most of the Shuttle program. She first applied as she was still working on her Masters and P.h.D at Mizzou.

"After a few years of no new astronaut classes they were hiring for the astronaut program again and for the very first time they were inviting women to apply," said Godwin.

The first time she applied she was denied a spot in the program. But she knew that it was what she wanted to do.

"I applied again when they had another selection," she said. " And I got invited down for an interview. Did not get in that time [either] but they offered me a job."

That started her career for NASA. She worked in flight operations which assist in Mission Control during space flights. The experiences she learned then was what ultimately helped her. According to Godwin if the program sees someone who might be a good fit they will try to get them in the doors and reevaluate them in a few more years. That's exactly what happened to Godwin.

She finally made it into the program while a part of it was able to go on four different missions to space. The last one to the International Space station where she took part in a space walk. The views she saw there were unlike those you can get from earth.

"We're not that far away from the earth," she said. "But we're in this totally different environment... you look down there and you realize there's a lot that has to happen to get back but it's just a few 100 miles below."

After coming back down to earth Godwin finished up her career with NASA before starting her next career back in the Show Me State. She started to teach at Mizzou. The experiences she gained from the astronaut program help her as she teaches the future of Astrology and Physics about different concepts.

"What's going on today in space, what just happened, here were my experiences, look at what happens in microgravity, so I try to bring that in," said Godwin.

Those lessons she teaches all were fostered by the math and science lessons she learned at Jackson High school. She credits that education as to what made her an Astronaut.

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