What does it take to be an astronaut? Excellence at flying, courage, intelligence, resistance to stress, top physical shape any checklist would include these. But when America created NASA
in 1958, there was another unspoken rule: you had to be a man. Here is the tale of thirteen women
who proved that they were not only as tough as the toughest man but also brave enough to challenge the government. They were blocked by prejudice, jealousy, and the scrawled note of one of the most powerful men in Washington. But even though the Mercury
13 women did not make it into space, they did not lose, for their example empowered young women to take their place in the sky, piloting jets and commanding space capsules. Almost Astronauts
is the story of thirteen true pioneers of the space age.
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established by Congress in 1958 to guide American research in space. Women have played important roles in American history from the earliest days, although they have not always been adequately recognized. The Mercury space program resulted in the first Americans to venture into outer space.