A-OK, Says NASA’s First Woman Commentator

From Associated Press

The first woman to serve as NASA commentator for the liftoff of a spaceship carrying astronauts said today that she was pleased with her performance--even though she jumped the gun in one of her reports.

“I said the ice team had already made their report to management,” Lisa Malone, 27, said. “And I thought that they had. This was one of those times when there was a lot going on. It was just a few minutes later, then they came on and gave their report.”

Malone, who sat in the top row of the firing room a few seats down from the launch director for Discovery’s liftoff, said “it was just a matter of time” before NASA used a woman as launch commentator.

After the launch, she was back in her office at the Kennedy Space Center’s press headquarters, where she works as space shuttle specialist. Instead of analyzing weather and engineering reports, however, she was kept busy by reporters asking her to analyze her performance.

“I think I did all right,” she said, adding that it went more smoothly than she expected “because the launch team did such a good job, they made my job easier.”