The Mercury 13: The women who could have been NASA's first female astronauts

Dec 21, 2019
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"Dubbed the Mercury 13, these fearless pilots had all the qualifications and experience to be able to compete with — and in some cases, outperform — their male counterparts. They were simply the wrong gender."

Frankly, that's a crock of ****. Yes, these women passed many of the same medical tests that the Mercury candidates underwent (though only one, Jerrie Cobb, passed all three phases of the medical tests) but there was a lot more to the qualifications for the early astronauts than being able to physically survive the expected rigors of space flight. One key qualification that NONE of them had was experience as a test pilot in high performance jet aircraft. (Cobb, arguably the most experienced aviator among them, had never even flown a jet.)

Experience handling a novel craft in unexpected circumstances was a legitimate qualification for sending pilots into the unfamiliar environment of space. It was not a matter of sexual discrimination on the part of NASA that there was no way for a woman to BE qualified. Maybe the U.S. military should have allowed women to fly in combat and work as military test pilots in the late '40s and early '50s, so that by 1959 when NASA started assembling its pool of astronaut candidates there might have been some women who were qualified. But to claim that the so-called "Mercury 13" had "all the qualifications and experience" that the Mercury astronauts had is laughably revisionist history.
 
Apr 23, 2021
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the decision to limit the first astronaut selections to military test pilots was taken by the Eisenhower administration to avoid having varies different people such as circus performers and daredevils applying to be spacefarers. However the Soviets did not have that requirement and many of their first cosmonauts were paratroopers as opposed to test pilots this is why they were able to send the first woman in space in 1963 Valentina Tereshkova was a member of a parachute club; it was 20 years before the US launched its first woman astronaut.
 
Jun 1, 2020
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I keep thinking about that rocket sled.

Long ago I read an account of a journalist seeking the origin to Murphy’s law. It took him to the folks at the rocket sled where he meet the doctor who would not subject his pilots to the extremes without putting himself through them first. His list of injuries is incredible.

I assume the more extreme stresses from the sled are no longer required.
 
Jul 25, 2021
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I keep thinking about that rocket sled.

Long ago I read an account of a journalist seeking the origin to Murphy’s law. It took him to the folks at the rocket sled where he meet the doctor who would not subject his pilots to the extremes without putting himself through them first. His list of injuries is incredible.

I assume the more extreme stresses from the sled are no longer required.
References: https://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/16/us/john-paul-stapp-89-is-dead-the-fastest-man-on-earth.html
PreviewPreview3:24COL. JOHN PAUL STAPP USAF ROCKET SLED TESTS 71412YouTube · PeriscopeFilm3 Apr 2015
 

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