After graduating from UCLA in 1971, Dr. Fisher spent a year in graduate school in chemistry at UCLA working in the field of x-ray crystallographic studies of metallocarbonanes.
She co-authored 3 publications relating to these studies for the Journal of Inorganic Chemistry. She began medical school at UCLA in 1972 and, following graduation in 1976, commenced a 1-year internship at Harbor General Hospital in Torrance, California.
After completing that internship, she specialized in emergency medicine and worked in several hospitals in the Los Angeles area.
Dr. Fisher was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978. In August 1979, she completed a one-year training and evaluation period, making her eligible for assignment as a mission specialist on future Space Shuttle flight crews.
Following the one-year basic training program Dr. Fisher’s early NASA assignments (pre-STS-1 through STS-4) included the following: Crew representative to support development and testing of the Remote Manipulator System (RMS); Crew representative to support development and testing of payload bay door contingency EVA procedures, the extra-small Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), and contingency on-orbit TPS repair hardware and procedures; Verification of flight software at the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL) -- in that capacity she reviewed test requirements and procedures for ascent, on-orbit, and RMS software verification -- and served as a crew evaluator for verification and development testing for STS-2, 3 and 4.
For STS-5 through STS-7 Dr. Fisher was assigned as a crew representative to support vehicle integrated testing and payload testing at KSC.
In addition, Dr. Fisher supported each Orbital Flight Test (STS 1-4) launch and landing (at either a prime or backup site) as a physician in the rescue helicopters, and provided both medical & operational inputs to the development of rescue procedures.
Dr. Fisher was also an on-orbit CAPCOM for the STS-9 mission.
About the Spaceflight
November 8-16, 1984
Dr. Fisher was a mission specialist on STS-51A, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 8, 1984.
She was accompanied by Captain Frederick (Rick) Hauck (spacecraft commander), Captain David M. Walker (pilot), and fellow mission specialists, Dr. Joseph P. Allen, and Commander Dale H. Gardner. This was the second flight of the orbiter Discovery. During the mission the crew deployed two satellites, Canada’s Anik D-2 (Telesat H) and Hughes’ LEASAT-1 (Syncom IV-1), and operated the Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME) device, and the 3M Company’s Diffusive Mixing of Organic Solutions (DMOS) experiment.
In the first space salvage mission in history the crew also retrieved for return to earth the Palapa B-2 and Westar VI satellites.
STS-51A completed 127 orbits of the Earth before landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 16, 1984. With the completion of her first flight, Dr. Fisher has logged a total of 192 hours in space.