tawnypixie: magalis: eearth: eearth: eearth: Just a reminder that the first NASA astronauts…






Just a reminder that the first NASA astronauts were supposed to be women because generally they are smaller, lighter (less weight in the cockpit means less fuel required) and eat less than men and so would be easier to accommodate in space. 

Both men and women trained (and many of the female finalists had higher scores than the men), but they were completely excluded from the final selection because of their gender.

13 women underwent final training, all were accomplished pilots with at least 1000 hours flying experience, all passed the necessary tests, all could have been astronauts if only they were afforded the opportunity.

[below, Jerrie Cobb photographed during testing]


They are collectively known as the Mercury 13, there’s a great blog entry about them here and a brilliant PBS documentary too.

Their names are Myrtle Cagle, Jerrie Cobb, Janet Dietrich, Marion Dietrich, Wally Funk, Sarah Gorelick, Jane “Janey” Hart, Jean Hixson, Rhea Hurrle, Gene Nora Stumbough, Irene Leverton, Jerri Sloan and Bernice Steadman. They should be remembered and celebrated for their role in the history of space exploration.

It wasn’t until 2 decades later that Sally Ride became the first woman in space in 1983.

7 of the surviving members of the Mercury 13 are pictured below, 33 years later in 1995.


“Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America’s First Women in Space Program” by Margaret A. Weitekamp is a really great book about the Mercury 13 if anyone wants to read about them too.


Reposted from http://ift.tt/2kbkCYz.

Tags: wow, I had no idea at all about this, despite having consumed a fair amount, of mainstream space-fandom content.

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