Wally Funk’s Race for Space
As seen in the major Netflix documentary `Mercury 13′
In 1961, Wally Funk was among the Mercury 13, the first group of American pilots to pass the `Woman in Space’ programme. Wally sailed through a series of rigorous physical and mental tests, with one of her scores beating all the male Mercury 7 astronauts’, including John Glenn’s, the first American in orbit. But just one week before the final phase of training, the programme was abruptly cancelled. A combination of politics and prejudice meant that none of the women ever flew into space. Undeterred, Wally went on to become America’s first female aviation safety inspector, though her dream of being an astronaut never dimmed.
In this offbeat odyssey, journalist and fellow space enthusiast Sue Nelson joins Wally, now approaching her eightieth birthday, as she races to make her own giant leap before it’s too late. Covering their travels across the United States and Europe – taking in NASA’s mission control in Houston, the European Space Agency’s HQ in Paris and Spaceport America in New Mexico, where Wally’s ride into space awaits – this is a uniquely intimate and entertaining portrait of a true aviation trailblazer.
`Extraordinary ... throws fascinating light on the story of female space travel' Daily Mail Book of the Week; `Wally Funk's character leaps off the page ... fantastic and so inspirational.' Naga Munchetty, BBC Breakfast; `A truly inspiring book about friendship, women's place in the history of aviation and space, and the cost of a dream.' BBC Sky at Night *****; `An odyssey of a friendship ... Wally's character shines through. ... As the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings approach, it's sobering to have a reminder of the astronauts who might have been.' New Statesman; `After the success of Hidden Figures, Wally Funk's Race for Space feels immensely important and timely - like the world is finally waking up to women's contributions to science and engineering.' Physics World; `A compelling portrait' Nature
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