America’s first female astronaut candidate who pushed for women in space has died aged 88. She never accomplished her dream.
Pilot Jerrie Cobb died in Florida on March 18 following a brief illness. In 1961, Cobb became the first woman to pass the astronaut testing, and other 12 women followed her, but NASA had at that time 7 astronauts, all jet test pilots and all military men. The Agency never sent to space one of those women. Jerrie was designed to be a consultant to talk up the space program but was dismissed one week after commenting: “I’m the most unconsulted consultant in any government agency.” So, she served for decades as a humanitarian aid pilot in the Amazon jungle. “I would give my life to fly in space, I really would,” Cobb told the media in 1998. Her dream yet existed, but NASA never flew an elderly person in space. First ever woman the Agency sent in a space flight mission was Sally Ride, in 1983.
Jerrie Cobb in a flight simulator
The beauty of the Jerrie’s dream, even unfulfilled, however remains. She was a passionate aspiring astronaut and a perfectionist human being, a valuable example for generations. She advocated throughout her life for women flying in space and some of them did it. She expressed always dignity, including on the Congress, at a hearing on women astronaut candidates, in 1962, when she told: “We women pilots who want to be part of the research and participation in space exploration are not trying to join a battle of the sexes. As pilots, we fly and share mutual respect with male pilots in the primarily man’s world of aviation. We very well know how to live together in our profession. We see, only, a place in our Nation’s space future without discrimination…” Jerrie Cobb is a celebrity.