The Mercury 13 Female Astronauts - Almost... Mar 8, 2005 1:38:28 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Mar 8, 2005 1:38:28 GMT -6
Early Space Capsules deemed Women Free
March is Womens History Month, and I never knew about these ladies who fought to join in the start of the American space program...
Out of the original 25 applicants, 13 were chosen for further testing at the Naval Aviation center in Pensacola, FL.
Expecting the next round of tests to be the first step in training which would allow them to become astronaut trainees, several of the women quit their jobs in order to be able to go. Shortly before they were scheduled to report, the women received telegrams canceling the Pensacola testing. Without an official NASA request to run the tests, the Navy would not allow the use of their facilities.
Jerrie Cobb (the first woman to qualify) and Janey Hart (the forty-one year old mother who was also married to U.S. Senator Philip Hart of Michigan) campaigned in Washington to have the program continue. They contacted President Kenendy and Vice President Johnson. They attended hearings Janey Hart chaired by Representative Victor Anfuso and testified on behalf of the women. Jackie Cochran, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, and George Low all testified that including women in the Mercury Project or creating a special program for them would be a detriment to the space program. NASA required all astronauts to be jet test pilots and have engineering degrees. Since no women could meet these requirements, no women qualified to become astronauts. The Subcommittee expressed sympathy, but did not rule on the question.
More here: space.about.com/od/spaceexplorationhistory/a/mercury13.htm
So Glenn & Carpenter actively lobbied against admitting women, eh? I learn something new everyday!