Plans for Women to Be First Astronauts in 1950′s Scrapped

World map It turns out that in the 1950s when researchers were deciding who could best handle the rigours of space travel, scientists deemed women the stronger of the sex. A fascinating article "A Woman in Space" details the first archives of space research where scientists felt that women were the natural choice to be the first astronauts in terms of physiology and practicality. "They recognized that women's lighter weights would reduce the amount of propulsion fuel being used by the rocket's load and that women would require less auxiliary oxygen than men. They knew that women had fewer heart attacks than men and their reproductive system was thought to be less susceptible to radiation than a male's. Finally, preliminary data suggested that women could outperform men in enduring cramped spaces and prolonged isolation." The article goes on to explain that, surprise, surprise, despite the fact that there were indeed well qualified female pilots available, the plans met great resistance further up the government food chain and that eventually, plans to use professional women at all were scrapped in time for the world to see John Glenn orbit the earth in 1962. Makes you wonder, where would be today if "Joan Glen" had been the first?

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