CBR 15 Bingo – Strange Worlds: The titular six (and I) jet off to the strange worlds of NASA and outer space in this book.
It was many years after the inception of NASA and the space flight program that women were allowed to become astronauts. Though not all of these initial six women are household names today, they all worked to advance both space exploration and women’s rights in their own ways.
It rather surprises me that I’m not very interested in space exploration – maybe because I think there’s plenty here on Earth to occupy my attention. My mother, on the other hand, is a fanatic whose biggest goal in life is to one day make it to the moon and so I am kept abreast of any advancements in space exploration. However, I am interested in the people who actually made it up into orbit – the whys and hows of it – and so I was excited to read this book about the first six women accepted to NASA as astronauts.
The author devotes equal time to all six women, tracing them from childhood to show us what got them interested in becoming astronauts and how their skills and personalities led to them making it through the grueling selection process. We follow them through training, their missions in space and the advancements through the ranks of astronauts, ending with the tragic death of Judy Resnik and her colleagues in the Challenger disaster, and the investigation afterward. I enjoyed how the author did not show the women as a monolith and let us get to know them all on an individual level.
However, I did wish that the book went into more detail about the scientific aspects of what the women did on their flights to space. We go into their experiences and how the media and the public reacted to the novelty of women in space, but I would have liked to see more about the more routine aspects of their job as well. It also became tricky at times to keep track of the many people in the six’s lives, especially their fellow astronauts, so I wished the cast of characters at the start of the book had included them as well.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.