Category: Mercury 13

Categories: Astronauts

The Mercury 13 were thirteen American women who, as part of a privately funded program, successfully underwent the same physiological screening tests as had the astronauts selected by NASA on April 9, 1959, for Project Mercury. The term was coined in 1995 by Hollywood producer James Cross as a comparison to the Mercury Seven name given to the selected male astronauts. The Mercury 13 women were not part of NASA's astronaut program, never flew in space, and never met as a group.

In the 1960s some of these women were among those who lobbied the White House and Congress to have women included in the astronaut program. They testified before a congressional committee in 1962. Clare Boothe Luce wrote an article for LIFE magazine publicizing the women and criticizing NASA for its failure to include women as astronauts.

Thirteen women passed the same Phase I physical examinations that the Lovelace Foundation had developed as part of NASA's astronaut selection process. Those thirteen women were:

  • Myrtle Cagle
  • Jerrie Cobb
  • Janet Dietrich
  • Marion Dietrich, twin of Janet Dietrich
  • Wally Funk
  • Sarah Gorelick (later Ratley)
  • Jane "Janey" Briggs Hart
  • Jean Hixson
  • Rhea Woltman
  • Gene Nora Stumbough (later Jessen)
  • Irene Leverton
  • Jerri Sloan (later Truhill)
  • Bernice Steadman

At 41, Jane Hart was the oldest candidate, and was the mother of eight. Wally Funk, was the youngest, at 23. Marion and Janet Dietrich were twin sisters.

Person Profiles (3)

21 Oct 1921 Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United States - 05 Jun 2015 photo
05 Mar 1931 Norman, Cleveland, Oklahoma, United States - 18 Mar 2019 photo
30 Sep 1922 Hoopeston, Vermilion, Illinois, United States - 21 Sep 1984

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