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Ethan Anderton, /Film:

There was a time when being an astronaut was the dream of many Americans. However, all of the talk was about putting the first person in space, and all of the astronauts being sent up in rockets and landing on the moon were men. But there were plenty of women who wanted a chance to venture outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Mercury 13 is a new Netflix documentary which tells the story of a secret program that tested female pilots for an opportunity to be part of the Mercury program that started in 1958 with the hopes of sending a man in space. Unfortunately, NASA wasn’t interested in sending women to space, despite the fact that some of them performed better than the men on the required tests.

The documentary comes from director David Sington (The Fear of 13) and Heather Walsh, and it looks equally fascinating and frustrating. To think that there were all these women who were fully qualified to head into space but were denied entry into the space program simply because of their gender is devastating. At the very least, these women are having their story told today, and maybe they will inspire women to seek out careers in aviation and science in order to reinvigorate the space program someday.

Paul Ciano

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