When Pam is in orbit, she won't be the only woman in charge. No one knows more about that landmark event, and the space program itself, than CBS News space consultant Bill Harwood. Earlier this week we spoke to him about Melroy's turn as shuttle commander.
"You know Peggy Whitson, who is a space station flight engineer; she is in
"Well, you've been covering NASA for more than 15 years...do you think the culture at NASA grooms women for these take charge roles more than society at large?"
"I think NASA's really been out front in terms of hiring women engineers and scientists for many, many years. In terms of commanding a shuttle....the typical path is through test pilot school. Pam Melroy certainly is a veteran of Air Force Test Pilots. NASA's policy is if you're qualified...you're in the flow, and Pam Melroy's qualified."
"You've had a chance to meet Pam Melroy. We think she's special. What do you think?"
"I think she's outstanding in any sense you look at it. You know Eileen Collins was the first female shuttle commander, but Pam Melroy is certainly equally qualified. She's got a personality that's extremely engaging. And she can talk about the nuts and bolts of rocket science but can do it in English. She's an extremely talented person and NASA is putting a lot of faith in her to pull off a very complicated mission."
"Bill Harwood, we'll be following your coverage of the mission closely, thanks so much for joining us today. My pleasure."