In 1995, the Zonta Club of St Charles-Geneva-Batavia, USA were looking for items to display in an exhibit they were asked to coordinate at the Aurora Municipal Airport.
One Zontian remembered Janice Voss, who was a Zonta International Amelia Earhart (AE) Fellow in 1982. Later in her career, Voss would go on to become a NASA astronaut, holding the record for most spaceflights by an American woman. Voss is one of 1,114 women to receive the Fellowship, which is awarded annually to 35 women pursuing aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering careers.
In pursuit of materials for their display, a club member reached out to Voss – in what she thought was a long shot – to ask if the former AE Fellow had anything she would consider lending to the display.
Voss called the member, telling her she was excited to be involved and offering up the space suit she wore to the space station Mir, which operated from 1986 to 2001.
The display was taken down after being housed at the airport for three years. But when the club members tried to return the flight suit to Voss, she told them to keep it. Since then, the club has displayed the suit during their annual Amelia Earhart event.
This year, they donated the flight suit to Zonta International, to be displayed in the Headquarters office year-round.
Members of the Zonta Club of St Charles-Geneva-Batavia brought the suit to the Oak Brook, Illinois, office during a board meeting on 10 November. President Sonja Hönig Schough, along with other members of the Zonta International Board and Headquarters staff, welcomed the club members and the newest addition to the office.