Who doesn’t love a good bit
of secret history? You know all about the Mercury 7 astronauts, and if
you’re reading CHUD I really hope that you’re at least film literate
enough  to have seen the great The Right Stuff.
But what you may not have known is that while NASA was training seven
American men to be the first humans into space (a goal which they
missed), someone else was also running the same program with women.

program, now known as the Mercury 13, was put together by William
Randolph Lovelace II, who helped put together the astronaut testing
program. Lovelace was curious how women would fare under the same
circumstances as men; despite being without NASA sanction or funding,
the program got pretty far before it was shut down when the Navy
wouldn’t allow Lovelace to use their facilities for some of the most
advanced tests.

Now the Mercury 13 are getting a movie
of their own, based on the book Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America’s
First Women in Space Program
by Margaret A. Weitekamp. Says
producer Scott (300) Mednick: “This story is a
compelling portrait of two incredibly driven women not only set against
the creation and ultimate dismantling of the secret Woman in Space
program, but within the context of the Cold War and the rise of the
women’s movement in America.”

It could be very interesting; Mercury
7 astronauts testified before Congress that women shouldn’t be allowed
into the program, and they were even joined by one of the Mercury 13,
Jackie Cochran, a female aviation pioneer. There are very few great
roles for women in film these days and as long as this doesn’t get
turned into A League of Their Own in space, Right Stuff, Wrong Sex could
be intriguing.

via Variety