GENDER

The Almost Astronauts

In 1961, thirteen women were tested to see if women were equally qualified to be astronauts as men. Nearly two decades before Sally Ride–there was Jerrie Cobb. Have you ever heard of her? Did you know there were extraordinary women ready and able to be astronauts at the very same time John Glenn and Scott Carpenter were making history? Yet they were turned away. No women allowed.

Jerrie Cobb was one of the top female pilots in the country and completed all the astronaut testing the Mercury 7 men did. She excelled at all the tests. Twelve other female pilots followed her, passing the tests they took with flying colors. But when push came to shove, the answer was No. There was no room for women in the space program.

But these brave women weren’t the kind to give up. They took it to Congress. There was a Congressional hearing. There were heavy hitters who testified against them.

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