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  Clay Anderson in "Other People's Rejection Letters"

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Author Topic:   Clay Anderson in "Other People's Rejection Letters"
Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2123
From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-18-2013 12:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of Clay Anderson's 15 rejection letters from NASA is in the book Other People's Rejection Letters.
In 1998, Clayton Anderson was a 29-year-old aerospace engineer who wanted to fulfill his childhood dream of going to space.

One agency was stopping him from getting there: NASA.

The government agency had rejected Anderson's application for its astronaut training program 15 times.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 508
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 07-18-2013 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read the polite but firm letter written by NASA to a woman wanting to be an astronaut from 50 years ago online recently. It still stings for the recipient, whether in the pre-Sally Ride era or now.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-18-2013 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
It still stings for the recipient, whether in the pre-Sally Ride era or now.
Just curious, how do you know that? The letter first emerged on Reddit without any commentary. Has the recipient ("Miss Kelly") come forward since?

Greggy_D
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Posts: 629
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 07-18-2013 01:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The government agency had rejected Anderson's application for its astronaut training program 15 times.
Clay was chosen for Group 17. How in the world was he rejected 15 times before that, especially as a 39-year-old? (The article incorrectly stated he was 29 during 1998.)

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 508
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 07-18-2013 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Just curious, how do you know that?
As my comment stated, this was pre-Sally Ride, so this letter writer must have known about the 'Mercury 13' and statements by NASA regarding women in space. Even if she didn't, it must have been bold on her part, being a nascent feminist without even knowing it. What makes one chuckle, of course, is the declaration in the letter that NASA doesn't contemplate choosing female astronauts. Dr. Ride would have smiled and Col. Eileen Collins too.

The recipient may also have read about Amelia Earhart, the WASPs of WW2 and Jackie Cochran, still flying high-performance jets as late as the early 60s. My point is, if you have a dream, why not aim high? Yes, she may or may not have been 'stung' by the rejection, but nevertheless this may have pushed her in a different career path-or contributed to her wanting to participate in another way in the space or aviation fields. Hopefully, she or her family can come forward to complete the story.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-18-2013 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Other accounts of the early Mercury era suggest that thousands were writing NASA to volunteer their services as astronauts, both men and women, kids and adults (and senior citizens) and even non-U.S. citizens.

As such, when I read the rejection letter to "Miss Kelly," I considered it more of a mass response to astronaut-fever than a woman specifically seeking to be accepted because she was a woman. Without knowing what Miss Kelly wrote in her letter, the context of NASA's reply is incomplete.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 2123
From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-18-2013 11:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Greggy_D:
Clay was chosen for Group 17. How in the world was he rejected 15 times before that, especially as a 39-year-old?
Maybe he applied 8 times and got two letters each time:

NASA Letter One: "Sorry, but you didn't make it."
Anderson: "Really?"
NASA Letter Two: "Yes, really."

The 16th letter was not a "Yes, really," but an, "OK, you wore us down. We'll take you."

YankeeClipper
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Posts: 216
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 07-19-2013 07:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow! That certainly is highly impressive perseverance.

Does anyone know if that's the most rejections an eventually successful astronaut has ever received?

All times are CT (US)

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