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The Mercury 13
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 Jerrie Cobb, woman pilot of the year in 1959, hoped to become America's  first woman in space. Cobb took part in secret space flight simulations tests to evaluate her  fitness to become the first woman astronaut.  She aced every test. The youngest member of the Mercury 13 was Wally Funk who was a top-ranked  colleagiate pilot in the late 1950s.  Although the Mercury 13 passed secret tests in 1961 to become America's  first women in space, Congress barred them from advancing further. It  wasn't until 1983 that Sally Ride became the nation's first woman  astronaut.
Eileen Collins became the first woman commander of the space shuttle in  1999.  She said she stands on the shoulders of the Mercury 13 women. Some members of the Mercury 13 attended a recent shuttle launch. Left to right: Gene Nora Stumbough, Wally Funk, Jerry Cobb, Jerri Truhill, Sara Gorelick Ratley, Myrtle Cagle, B. Steadman. Wally Funk continues to hope for a flight into space and recently  participated in weightlessness training at Star City, the Russian space  facility. Martha's father, Florenze Ackmann, (fourth from left) inspired her love of  aviation.  He was a flight engineer on a B-26 in World War II.


Copyright 2005-2010 Martha Ackmann