Other Oklahomans

Carole Ann McLemore

Oklahoma Connection: Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1960

Carole McLemore worked as an engineer at NASA starting in 1985. She helped design the International Space Station, among other work.

James Webb

Oklahoma Connection: Moved to Oklahoma in 1953

James Webb moved to Oklahoma City to work for Kerr McGee. In 1961 he became the administrator of NASA under President John F. Kennedy. He served until 1968, helping to get the first man on the moon.


Photo courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration, nasa.gov (accessed January 16, 2013).

Jerry Elliott

Oklahoma Connection: Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Jerry Elliott is a Cherokee and Osage Indian. As a child he had a vision that he would help get people to the moon. He became an engineer for NASA in 1966. He worked on the Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs. He was working in Mission Control when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. He also founded the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.


Jerry Elliott with Iron Eyes Cody and the Apollo-Soyuz docking module (22311.80.11.3.7, Jerry Elliott Collection, Oklahoma Historical Society Research Division).


Celebration in Mission Control Room during Apollo 11. Jerry Elliot’s childhood dream had come true. Photo courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration, nasa.gov (accessed January 16, 2013).

Donna Shirley

Oklahoma Connection: Born in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, in 1941

Donna Shirley dreamed of going to Mars as a little girl. She enrolled in the University of Oklahoma’s engineering program and her advisor told her “girls can’t be engineers.” In 1994 she became the Mars Program Manager in the Office of Mars Exploration. She helped get the first rover to land on Mars in 1997.

Read the transcript of an oral history featuring Donna Shirley (PDF)


Photo courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration, nasa.gov (accessed January 16, 2013).

Velma Clark

Oklahoma Connection: Born in Custer City, Oklahoma, in 1910

Velma Clark graduated from Oklahoma A & M with a degree in journalism. In 1968 a company hired her to work on writing, editing, and proofing NASA handbooks.

Wiley Post

Oklahoma Connection: Born in Maysville, Oklahoma

Wiley Post is best known for setting a record for flying around the world. He also wanted to fly higher than anyone else had before. He could not do so, though, in his plane, the Winnie Mae, because it was made of wood. The pressure in the air was too strong to allow him to fly so high. So he contacted the B. F. Goodrich Company to design him a suit that would allow him to fly high into the atmosphere. In 1934 Wiley Post flew the Winnie Mae to 40,000 feet and later flew to as high as 50,000 feet. Wiley Post made it possible for astronauts to survive in space by helping develop the first pressurized suit.


Wiley Post in the pressurized suit (23115-AL-19-4, Arch Dixon Collection, Oklahoma Historical Society Research Division).


Wiley Post Helmet Replica (Oklahomans and Space, Oklahoma Historical Society Collections).

Geraldyn Cobb

Oklahoma Connection: Born in Norman, Oklahoma, in 1931

Geraldyn Cobb learned to fly her father’s plane by age twelve. She became the first woman astronaut trainee in 1960. She also became a consultant for the future use of women astronauts. In 1963 NASA decided not to use women astronauts. Cobb resigned and became a humanitarian aid worker to South America, winning many awards for her work.


Photo courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration, nasa.gov (accessed January 16, 2013).

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