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The Six:  The Untold Story of America's First Women Astronauts

The Six: The Untold Story of America's First Women Astronauts

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During the 1960s and 1970s, when NASA embarked on its historic missions to the moon, women were initially excluded from the astronaut corps. The rationale behind this decision was the belief that only military test pilots, a profession exclusively dominated by men at the time, possessed the necessary qualities. This era was marked by the discouragement of women from pursuing careers in science and the perception that they were unfit for space travel. Eventually, NASA acknowledged its mistake and broadened the application process, welcoming candidates from diverse backgrounds, irrespective of race or gender.

In 1978, after reviewing 8,000 applicants, NASA selected six remarkable women to join the astronaut program: Sally Ride, Judy Resnik, Anna Fisher, Kathy Sullivan, Shannon Lucid, and Rhea Seddon. In "The Six," acclaimed journalist Loren Grush delves into the stories of these brilliant and courageous women. The narrative unfolds as they grapple with claustrophobic and, at times, deeply sexist media scrutiny, undergo rigorous survival training, and invest years in preparing to carry multi-million-dollar payloads into orbit. Collectively, the Six played a crucial role in constructing the tools that powered the space program forward. Tragically, Judy Resnik lost her life when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded at 46,000 feet, highlighting the perilous nature of their endeavors. While Sally Ride is widely celebrated for her historic first space journey, each member of the Six made significant contributions, leaving an indelible mark on space exploration.

 

Written by Loren Grush. Published by Simon and Schuster, 2023.  Hardcover, 422 pages.