Back in 1961 Wally Funk and twelve other women in the Mercury 13 program went through the same rigorous tests as the men of NASA. All of them did extremely well.
One test that Funk is especially known for is staying afloat in body temperature water for over 10 hours. And in the years since Mercury 13, she has had several succesful careers in aviation.
Nelson navigates smoothly between a few narratives: Funk’s formative years, her love for airplanes, flying, and space, the Mercury 13 time, and the last mission Funk wants to take to be an astronaut. She plans to do this by taking a space tourism flight through Virgin Galactic.
And for part of Funk’s quest to do so Nelson joins her recording radio interviews for BBC radio. Some of them are between Nelson and Wally and others are with various NASA personal, Virgin Galactic people and a few friends of Wally’s. And Nelson gets access to Funk’s diaries and souvenirs she has held onto.
Race for Space is engaging, heartfelt, and makes me root for Funk just as Nelson does that her friend can achieve her life long dream. I hope she does!