Eileen Collins will become the first woman to command a space shuttle mission in U.S. history. White House spokesman Mike McCurry said the announcement is, “good news for all of those who are supportive of our efforts in space and who believe it should be a gender-neutral zone.”
Collins, a 41-year-old Air Force lieutenant colonel, was the second Air Force female test pilot and the first woman to be chosen by NASA as a shuttle pilot.
Susan Still is the only other woman to ever fly the space shuttle. Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, is the only other woman to pilot a spaceship, when she flew solo in 1963 for three days.