School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Document Type

Student Paper

Program Name

Space Studies

Publication Date



The first group of American astronauts, known as the Mercury 7, was selected in 1959. None of them were women. Women were not considered eligible to be astronauts, even though the group of women known as the Mercury 13, were more than qualified. The first female in space was Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in 1963. An American woman did not achieve this accomplishment until 1983. In the early days of the US space program, women were discriminated against much like they were in the workplace in general. That unfortunate history is at risk of being repeated, if not for the same reason, with similar results. NASA must act now to prevent further discrimination of women in the space program.



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