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The 1960’s female astronauts who never saw space

Sally Ride became the first female astronaut from the U.S. to go to space in 1983, yet there was a group of little-known women who were ready — and willing — to ride all the way back in the 1960s.

Known as the First Lady Astronaut Trainees, these female pilots were tested by Dr. Randy Lovelace — who developed the testing regimen of the Mercury astronauts — at his own private clinic separate from NASA.

According to Smithsonian:

There were strong arguments for looking at women astronauts, writes historian Margaret Weitekamp for the National Air and Space Museum. “Scientists knew that women, as smaller beings on average, require less food, water and oxygen, which was an advantage when packing a traveler and supplies into a small spacecraft,” she writes. “Women outperformed men on isolation tests and, on average, had better cardiovascular health.”

1n 1961, interest was expressed in using the twelve women who passed, but by 1962, the dream had died.

Two of the potential astronauts, Jerrie Cobb and Jane Hart, did testify before Congress to push their case, yet it would be more than twenty years before a woman went to space.

Full story at Smithsonian.

Women in space.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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