PROMISED THE MOON

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by StrangerInAStrangeLand, Dec 6, 2014.

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  1. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    PROMISED THE MOON: The Untold Story of the First Women in the Space Race
    Stephanie Nolen, Author

    In one of those strange coincidences that often occur in publishing, this is the second book this summer (after Martha Ackmann's The Mercury 13) to relate the little known but remarkable story of the 13 women who trained in the early 1960s to be Mercury astronauts, and though a slightly less satisfying effort, this is still compelling reading. These women passed many of the same grueling tests taken by the male Mercury astronauts, but they were opposed by virtually everyone in power at NASA. In addition to bringing many of the 13 to life, Nolen, a foreign correspondent for Canada's Toronto Globe and Mail, does an excellent job of describing the social context in which they operated. She explains that although institutional sexism and a strong antifemale bias among most players at NASA certainly existed, American society at large was not yet ready to permit women to be placed in the roles for which these women were training. Even many women felt this way, and Nolen explains how Jackie Cochran, one of America's best-known female aviators, spoke forcefully against sending women into space. Cochran's motives, according to Nolen, were complex; she didn't want to antagonize powerful male friends, she didn't want other women to overshadow her achievements and she felt that women weren't physically capable of performing such activities. Although Nolen interviewed 11 of the original 13, her material isn't quite as personal as Ackmann's (Forecasts, Apr. 21). Nonetheless, this is impossible to put down and deserves widespread attention. 30 b&w photos.


    http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-56858-275-7


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  3. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    NASA did not select, nor train women until 1978

    sourced from:
    "a tribute to NASA minority astronauts: past and present"
     
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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  7. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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  8. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Jerri Truhill at a Hospice in Irving, TX on 11/18/2013.

    25 women, narrowed down to 13, who participated in and passed the very same physical and psychological tests that determined the original astronauts. These 13 women - Jerrie Cobb, Bernice Steadman, Janey Hart, Jerri Truhill, Rhea Woltman, Sarah Ratley, Jan and Marion Dietrich, Myrtle Cagle, Irene Leverton, Gene Nora Jessen, Jean Hixson, and Wally Funk - passed the same tests as the Mercury 7.

    Jerrie Cobb to be Inducted into Hall of Fame
    Jerrie Cobb will be inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame
    October 6, 2012


    This website is dedicated to the women of the Mercury era, the Mercury 13.


    http://www.mercury13.com/
     
  9. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Fly Me to the Moon
    Reviewed by Sienna Powers

    The stories have been told and retold so often the edges have become smooth and comfortable. We've read about it, heard about it, seen things on television and at the movies. We know what the space race looked like. We've seen the images of men standing on the moon -- Armstrong and Aldrin and "Once small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." We've witnessed numerous versions of the Astronaut Walk: where two or four or six men walk fully suited -- and usually in slow motion -- towards their waiting craft. Men, though. We're always shown the men.
    What those familiar images -- not to mention Armstrong's famous quote -- leave out completely is what could almost be called NASA's dirty little secret: The baker's dozen of women astronauts who trained for the space race. Dr. Randolph Lovelace II, the doctor who had selected the men who would become NASA's first astronauts, had determined that women were at least as fit as men -- if not more so -- for the rigors and constraints of space travel. Since women, Lovelace reported, were generally smaller than men, they took up less space and used less oxygen per minute. A space crew comprised of women would have to carry less oxygen and the physical space required -- plus the fuel to haul that payload -- could be less. Testing showed that woman could tolerate heat as well as a man and handle pain even better. And, since her reproductive organs were internal, a woman's risk from radiation damage would be lower. In 1959 at a convention for aerospace scientists, Dr. Lovelace announced that "We are already in a position to say that certain qualities of the female space pilot are preferable to those of her male colleague."
    Lovelace began putting together a team of women -- the best of the best -- who came to be known as the FLATs: Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees. Unlike their male counterparts, none of the women had combat flight experience, but all of them were experienced pilots and many had more actual flight hours than the men chosen for the astronaut program.
    When, almost before it started, the FLAT program was left flat, no one in the program fully understood why. It took forty years and a game Canadian journalist to unravel the secrets around the FLAT program: how something so promising and logical probably never had a chance of succeeding or even, literally, getting off the ground.
    Globe and Mail reporter Stephanie Nolen -- author of this year's Shakespeare's Face, another book that looks closely at something that's been simultaneously under our nose and almost completely forgotten -- has expended considerable energy putting together the pieces that make the picture whole, likely for the very first time. Nolen approaches Promised the Moon through official and unofficial sources as well as the personal stories of the 13 women who didn't make it to space. And Nolen brings us engagingly through the mountains of red tape and politicking that the "astronette" program engendered. Her conclusions?
    ... it is nonetheless unlikely that the women would have realized their dream of spaceflight. In the larger picture, the women were grounded for one simple reason: they stepped outside the boundaries of the accepted roles for women in their time.
    Herself a product of a more modern age, Nolen finds it difficult to imagine that such a relatively short period of time should have made such a huge difference. And yet...
    When we look back at the pictures of women in the fifties and sixties, it all looks a bit quaint -- the beehive hairdos and the sweater sets. And it is tempting to see the story of these "first women astronauts" as a curious historical footnote: as The Right Stuff very nearly cast with female players. But, above all else, the story of these extraordinary women, who ignored traditional roles, defied convention and broke through barriers is a tale of the painful, destructive experience of being caught on the cusp of social change.

    In Promised the Moon: The Untold Story of the First Women in the Space Race Stephanie Nolen tells that story in its entirety for the first time. | October 2002

    Sienna Powers is a transplanted Calgarian who lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. She is a writer and conceptual artist.


    http://www.januarymagazine.com/nonfiction/promisedthemoon.html
     
  10. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    Russians were the first to grant women the equality they deserve in both science and politics. Space as well.
     
  11. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    mercury astronaut selection criteria:
    1. height 5' 11" or less.
    2. younger than 40 at the time of selection.
    3. graduate of a navy or airforce test pilot school.
    4. 1500 hrs. flight time.
    5. qualified in jet aircraft.
    6. engineering background.
     
  12. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

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    New Zealand was the first to grant women the vote, followed closely by what were still only colonies in Australia.
    Stop waving your silly little flag and read something.
     
  13. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    Ah seriously New Zealand is your role model for women? What has New Zealand accomplished on a global scale? New Zealand cheese and honey?

    Russia is bigger than Pluto, has created scientists who have advanced the world, has defeated numerous aggressors on its land, women in power in Russia are in POWER.

    Women in power in New Zealand, what power are they given? Seriously now.
     
  14. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Another quick derailment.
     
  15. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    russias first satellite, sputnik 1, was defintiely larger than americas, by a factor of at least 50.
    all it did was circle the globe once every 90 or so minutes and bleeped out "beep, beep, beep, beep, etc . . . "
    americas first satellite explorer 1, ol' puny at 3 or so pounds, discovered the van allen belts, americas contribution to the IGY.
    there was no question that russia had the biggest booster, but it seems russia was in the game for prestige instead of actually accomplishing anything.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I have very fond memories of Sputnik. In high school, I was what is now called a "geek," a student with great interest and aptitude in science and math, but no interest or aptitude in sports. The jocks sneered at me, the pachucos (juvenile delinquents of Mexican ancestry) picked on me, and the girls ignored me.

    Then one day Sputnik went up, and suddenly the USA was in a "space race" with the USSR. Everyone understood that this was going to require the efforts of all the people with interest and aptitude in science and math.

    The day after Sputnik, the jocks started opening doors for us, the pachucos escorted us through the tough neighborhoods, and the girls suddenly found us sexy and interesting.

    It was a great era! It came crashing to a halt in the late 1970s, when the hippies began to atone for their sex and drugs and rock'n'roll by joining fundamentalist Christian churches and no one majored in science and math anymore. But by then I had a high-paying job as a computer programmer, so the girls still liked me.

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  17. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Me too. I saw it streak across the sky a month or so after its launch from a Stamford Conn. parking lot. I was first hired by tiny CGS labs. They had just been granteed USAF's QRC 35 as they had made an "incraductor" - I.e. a coil that could handle 50W and electronicly tune a single stage RF modulated noise transmitter. It did that by also having a DC winding that could nearly instantously change the magnetic nature of the ferrite core of the incraductor.

    I was poor and needing money to continue my graduate studies. You may remember the US economy was in bad shape, so I was happy to get any summer job, much more so a very high pay one. That Quick Reaction Contract came from SAC. Their bombers had little chance of reaching Moscow as the USSR's fighters were waiting for them with a 10 to one ratio. The Russian pilots coordinated their attack by voice. SAC's plan was to throw 50W "smack on" any frequency they used in less than a tenth of a second, (if several were in use, 50W dwelled on each for about half second then the next, etc.) SAC wanted delivery "yesterday" - money had no limit.* Other engineers were rented from NYC "body shop" and cost 1000 dollars per day! I was the only new regular employee. Compared to them, SAC got quite a bargain on a summer graduate student.*

    We were all standing in the CGS parking lot, looking up at the clear sky about 8PM. After 10 minutes or so one of the body shoppers said: "I feel silly." Then the only full time Engineer CGS had, our boss, said: "Me too - I have already spent at least $5,000 of SAC's money paying you triple time to do that." We delivered the first proto type unit in less than four months from contract award - I had already gone back to school a week or so earlier. Interestingly the two state devices used in the logic were tiny two pin neon discharge lamps - Fear was the high powered ground based radar beams would "fry" any transistors etc.

    * I was responsible for the power supplies and wiring harnesses - a tough job when no one yet knew what they needed. I noted some wires and parts possibly needed were not "on shelf" items. Asked the boss what should I do? Answer: "Order several miles of various wire colors and sizes plus wide set of assorted connectors that may be needed - it is a cost plus QRC." So I did - about 20,000 dollars worth. CGS did not have a personnel department. When I arrived for job interview it was short with few words. Their only engineer handed me a sheet of paper and pencil and said: "Draw me a well filtered full wave AC to DC power supply." I did, as had made several back when I was a "Radio Ham." Five minutes after I walked in his office he said: "You're hired. Now lets talk about your salary." I asked for a little more than at my prior summer job, but should have asked for much more - he would have paid it.
     
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  18. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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  19. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    as pointed out in the OP, women played a role too, although it was behind the scenes.
    brings up images of "rosie the riveter".
     
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