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Gateway to Women's History

As participants in a confidential 1961 program to test women’s suitability for space travel, the Mercury 13 women underwent, and passed, the same rigorous astronaut physical and psychological examinations that had been used to select the Mercury 7 astronauts. While the United States trailed the Soviet Union in the “Space Race,” these highly accomplished pilots were among twenty five women who traveled to the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico in hopes of getting a chance to become astronauts. Despite their success on the initial phases of physical and psychological testing, the Mercury 13 were stopped short of their dream to become astronauts. A few days before they were to report for additional testing, they were notified that the program had been cancelled. Although the Mercury 13 were not given the chance to become astronauts, and the United States would not launch a woman into space until 1983, these women proved women were physically and mentally qualified for space travel.

Featured Items
Geraldine 'Jerri' Sloan Truhill in cockpit
Jerrie Cobb in an airplane cockpit
Bernice Steadman with unknown pilot at International Air Race
Contact Information
  • Email: womenshistory@twu.edu
  • Phone: (940) 898-3751