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NASA – First Sign Language Message From Space

July 24, 2010

Station Astronaut Caldwell Dyson Sends First Sign Language Message From Space

The International Space Station has had guests from all over the world, representing myriad languages. But until NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson came aboard, one language was still not represented. Said to be the fourth most commonly used language in the United States, American Sign Language, or ASL, made its debut on the space station in a special video recorded by Caldwell Dyson.

In the almost six-minute video, the American astronaut spoke directly to the deaf community about what she does on the space station and how she became interested in ASL. She even offered several words of encouragement for young deaf students.

Caldwell Dyson explained that she first became interested in ASL when she met a fellow sprinter on the track team in high school. She strengthened her ASL skills when she was in graduate school and tutored a young woman in chemistry. The student was having a hard time, not because the course was difficult, but because of the added challenges the young woman faced. She had to take notes, look in the book and watch her interpreter who stood at the front of the room. “It was a difficult and strange way to learn,” said Caldwell Dyson, “but it was all she had and it opened my eyes to the challenges deaf students in hearing universities face every day — challenges that hearing people take for granted.” Caldwell Dyson said that working with this young woman made a deep and lasting impact on her.

It was from these experiences that Caldwell Dyson learned deaf people can do anything but hear. Students at deaf universities are engaged in cutting-edge research and science that may one day benefit humanity, just like the work being done at NASA. Caldwell Dyson would like to see these future scientists and engineers excel and even join the NASA community.

“Ultimately, this isn’t really about me learning or knowing ASL,” stated Caldwell Dyson. “This story should be an avenue for deaf students — from children in kindergarten to college undergraduates to doctoral candidates — to see themselves belonging to this amazing thing called NASA and participating in scientific research and space exploration.”

You can watch the video at NASA website: (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition24/sign_in_space.html)

Categories: Announcement
  1. Tousi43
    July 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    This is so cool! I saw it earlier and wanted to post it here but you beat me to it! Lol…..btw, can you ask the DR editors to put it on the main page?


  2. Jack Clifton
    July 25, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    That’s not correct.

    On Janurary 22, 1992 Astrouant Bill Reddy sent the first message in sign language.
    Check Gallaudet’s Deaf Mosia video.

    Thank you..

  3. Jack Clifton
    July 25, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Sorry, the first website address is incorrect. Here is the correct address.


    Thank you,


  4. Jack Clifton
    July 25, 2010 at 9:42 pm


    again thank you,


  5. Jack Clifton
    July 25, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    I apologize for 3rd wrong website address. Please disregard the first 3.

    The correct address for the first NASA astronaut (Bill Reddy) signed the first message in the space in 1992 is


    Thank you,


  6. Jack Clifton
    July 26, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Hey, I still gave you wrong link to the video of the first astronaut signing in the space. The link is http://www.videolibrary.gallaudet.edu/player.cmf?video=1804.

    I apologize for the errors.


  7. gvsfvc
    July 27, 2010 at 12:59 am

    Jack, get your fact straight for christ’s sake!!!

  8. Jack Clifton
    July 27, 2010 at 6:34 am

    What did you mean by “the fact” or did you mean the link address I had sent more than one time?? Calrify your question, please.

    http://www.videocatalog.gallaudet.edu/player.cmf?video=1804 IS the correct as Gallaudet clarified after I sent the last msg last nite.

    If it does not work, go to http://www.videolibrary.gallaudet.edu, click on “Deaf Mosiac” on the top, then click on year 1992 and video nbr 804 frame. You should be there.

    Thank you,


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