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Space. A small step for man, and an impossible step for women back in the 1950s. That’s the subject of Mercury 13, Netflix’s new original documentary, which blasts the sexist side of NASA you didn’t know about.
The documentary profiles the women who were tested in 1961 for spaceflight, but had their dreams dashed when only men were chosen to become astronauts.
NASA’s ‘man in space’ program, dubbed ‘Project Mercury’, began in 1958. The men chosen – all military test pilots – became known as The Mercury 7. But away from the glare of the media, behind firmly closed doors, female pilots were also screened. 13 of them passed and, in some cases, performed better than the men. They were called the Mercury 13 and had the ‘right stuff’ but were, unfortunately, the wrong gender.
Underneath the obsession of the space race that gripped America, the Mercury 13 women were aviation pioneers who emerged thirsty for a new frontier, but whose time would have to wait. Directed by The Fear of 13’s David Sington and Heather Walsh, the film tells the definitive story of 13 truly remarkable women who reached for the stars but were ahead of their time.
It lands on Netflix on Friday 20th April. Here’s a trailer:
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