Twenty-three women from 10 different countries whose careers span a half century of human spaceflight are profiled in this educational book for young readers. Women in Space features such figures as Sally Ride, the first American woman to orbit the earth; Peggy Whitson, who logged more than a year in orbit while aboard the International Space Station; Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space; and astronauts from Japan, Canada, Italy, South Korea, and France. Additional attention is paid to the women of Mercury 13, a program that trained women in the same screening tests administered to the men who became the first astronauts at NASA. Space pioneer Valentina Tereshkova, who in 1963 became the first woman to rocket into space, is also profiled. These stories of the pilots, physicists, and doctors who broke the stratospheric ceiling demonstrate the vital role women have played in the history of space exploration.
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In this addition to the Women of Action series, Gibson (Women Aviators) chronicles the long, challenging journeys undertaken by women from around the world as they worked to become astronauts. While several women-such as the "Mercury 13"-underwent rigorous training and were qualified to travel to space, they were often overlooked in favor of their male counterparts; Mercury 13 member Jerrie Cobb once stated that Vice-President Johnson had told her, "Jerrie, if we let you or other women into the space program, we have to let blacks in, we'd have to let Mexican-Americans in, we have to let every minority in and we just can't do it." The 23 individuals profiled include Judith Resnik, mission specialist onboard the Challenger; Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to travel to outer space; Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; and Yi Soyeon, the first South Korean in space, female or male. Photographs, personal stories, and details about the physical and emotional hurdles required to becoming an astronaut create an informative and hopeful overview of underrecognized scientists and explorers in a male-dominated field. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.