Mercury 13, a Neflix documentary film, tells the true story of a group of women who took part in astronaut testing at the same time men were going through the same thing. Dr. Randy Lovelace conducted the tests on both groups and the portion with the women got funding from wealthy heiress and pilot Jacqueline Cochran.
I knew this part of space history but not much so when I spotted Mercury 13 on Netflix I decided to watch. The women who are are alive and took part in the program share their experiences and of those who are no longer living a husband or child/children shares their memories. It would have been a real boost to equality had NASA and the Johnson administration chosen to allow a woman to go into space with the men. Instead the idea of women going into space didn’t seem logical and all thirteen women were denied a chance to go further in the program.
It would not be until the 1990s when President Clinton was in office that the first woman astronaut Eileen Collins would head into space. To mark this important event she invited the Mercury 13 women to witness this historical event. I think it shouldn’t have taken so long for the US to have its first astronaut. The former U.S.S.R. didn’t mind sending a woman into orbit in a shuttle and did so. Her name is Valentina Tereshkova and she got a heroes welcome and parade after her return from space.
Like getting to be in space, women have more glass ceilings to break and the women who were part of Mercury 13 helped start some cracks. Now it is up to future generations of women to keep them coming and eventually the glass ceiling will be no more.
Mercury 13: A Netflix Documentary Film