This documentary profiles women who were tested in 1961 for spaceflight, but had their dreams dashed when only men were chosen to become astronauts.
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Cast

Credited cast:
Joyce Case ... Self - pilot (archive footage)
Bill Clinton ... Self (archive footage)
Hillary Clinton ... Self (archive footage)
Jerrie Cobb ... Self
Jacqueline Cochran ... Self - pilot (archive footage)
Eileen Collins ... Self - astronaut
Gordon Cooper ... Self - Mercury astronaut (archive footage)
Wally Funk ... Self
Yuri Gagarin ... Self - Soviet cosmonaut (archive footage)
John Glenn ... Self - Mercury astronaut (archive footage)
Gus Grissom ... Self - Mercury astronaut (archive footage)
Ann Hart ... Self - daughter of Janey Hart
Janey Hart ... Self - pilot (archive footage)
Jim Hart ... Self - son of Janey Hart
Gene Nora Jessen ... Self - pilot
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Storyline

This documentary profiles women who were tested in 1961 for spaceflight, but had their dreams dashed when only men were chosen to become astronauts.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet the Women Who Dared Reach for the Stars

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Astronaut Eileen Collins was first woman and American Space Shuttle pilot and later, the first Space Shuttle Commander. She logged four missions into Space on the Space Shuttle. She is the winner of the prestigious Harmon Trophy and has spent 38 days 8 hours and 20 minutes in outer space. She is a retired USAF Colonel and test pilot. See more »

Goofs

Reversed image. At 39:59 a TH-55 (Hughes 269) U.S. Army trainer hovers by the camera from left to right. The collective control is clearly visible in what appears to be the pilot's right hand. The collective is on the pilots left and thus the image must be reversed. See more »

Connections

Referenced in For All Mankind: Nixon's Women (2019) See more »

User Reviews

 
What a wonderful documentary this is
4 May 2018 | by gcsmanSee all my reviews

Everyone should see this, and since it's on Netflix, it's easy. This episode in the history of the USA space program was a reflection of the 1960's society of the time, but obvious echos still ring today. A doctor attached to the Mercury space capsule program, Dr. Lovelace, started a program on his own initiative to recruit women pilots for possible astronaut training. The ones who passed all the (sometimes bizarre) physical tests, the "Mercury 13", had high hopes of going further but NASA, Congress, and VP Lyndon Johnson summarily dismissed it for reasons that were nothing more than blatant sexism. All the women were accomplished pilots and first-rate human beings by any standard, but the arbitrary "rules" of qualification for astronaut training were such that no woman could meet them -- despite the fact that no piloting was even needed for Mercury capsules; the astronauts were just "spam in a can" as the saying went.

These ladies drew career inspiration from a still earlier generation of women pilots who flew in WWII (the WASPS), including Jacqueline Cochrane who features prominently in the doc. Cochrane herself wanted to be an astronaut, but didn't pass the physicals that the younger women did, and later on betrayed them during crucial Senate hearings about the astronaut program. John Glenn, the fair-haired hero of these early stages of the space program, also comes in for some criticism; he's someone who could have given meaningful support to the women at a critical stage, but did not.

Just like these womens' hopes, the Mercury 13 history has been largely buried, so this doc is very timely. A number of them are still around to be interviewed and tell their story first-hand, and boy are they great to hear. (Dr. Lovelace's daughter is an interviewee as well, and she's excellent.) It's easy to get outraged on their behalf, but that might be too simplistic. Listen to them first. They in turn have clearly been role models and inspirations for the women who have now become a regular part of space exploration.

The chronology of this film is frequently spliced in with absolutely gorgeous flight scenery accompanied by a graceful, soaring musical score. Oh, the magic of flight. Those scenes alone make it worth seeing this fine production.


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Details

Official Sites:

Festival announcement

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 April 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Меркурий 13 See more »

Filming Locations:

Boise, Idaho, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fine Point Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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