dr. rhea sodden

The Rutherford County Historical Society monthly program for September will feature Murfreesboro native and astronaut Dr. Rhea Seddon. The event takes place Sept 17 at 7pm at the Rutherford County Archive Building, 435 Rice St, Murfreesboro.

dr. rhea soddenDr. Rhea Seddon was born and raised in Murfreesboro, where she attended St. Rose of Lima Catholic School and graduated from Murfreesboro’s Central High School in 1965 before heading off to college at Cal Berkeley, earning a bachelor of arts degree in physiology, then a doctorate of medicine from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in 1973.

A woman of many firsts, Dr. Seddon was one of only six women in a class of 100 in medical school and the first woman ever accepted to her General Surgery Residency Program. As one of the first six women accepted into the Astronaut Corps, her marriage to fellow Astronaut Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson produced the first astronaut couple and the two of them produced the first official “astrotots.” She was the eighth woman accepted to the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Besides her space career, Rhea’s life experiences have led her from surgeon to licensed private pilot, to healthcare executive, entrepreneur, business owner, author, and now public speaker.

Dr. Seddon spent 19 years with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 1978 she was selected as one of the first Astronaut class to include women. She served as a Mission Specialist on Space Shuttle flights in 1985 and 1991 and as Payload Commander in charge of all science activities on her final flight in 1993. This brought her total time in space to 30 days.

Dr. Seddon’s memoir Go For Orbit won the 2016 Ben Franklin Award for best Autobiography/Memoir. Learn more about her book here.

Learn more about the Rutherford County Historical Society here.

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