Space exploration has developed from early, unmanned space probes through the pioneering years of the `Manned' Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, to missions that now include women in the crew as a matter of course. Dave Shayler tells the story of the first woman balloonist in 1784 to their breakthrough as astronauts and cosmonauts in a range of professional roles. He covers the contribution women have made to space exploration and draws on interviews with Shuttle and Mir crew members who were women. These interviews detail the achievements of the first female Shuttle commander and the first female resident crew member of the International Space Station. These and many other events are presented in a detailed and highly readable account that recalls the difficult path to space exploration by women.
From the reviews: "The purpose of this book is to celebrate the achievements of all the women who have taken part, in a multitude of ways, in missions of space exploration, and to chronicle those missions. ! For any student of the subject here is the reference book par excellence, with ample cross-references to relevant literature, reports, and similar documents. ! will find this a most helpful and surely unique addition to their libraries, and extremely good value for money." (Elizabeth Griffin, The Observatory, Vol. 126 (1191), 2006) "The authors set out to establish the role that women played in aviation, as a precursor to space flight. ! This is a fascinating book that introduced me to many outstanding and extraordinary patient women, who achieved so much ! . laudable attempt to record the work of engineers, researchers, machinists and others who were part of the enormous pyramid of effort that let the astronauts fly. ! a valuable history of the long years of women's rejection from national efforts in the space race." (Sue Bowler, Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 46, October, 2005) "It goes well beyond women in space as it includes many of the woman that played a role in aviation as well as some women who were marginally involved in space by being, for instance, scientists associated with space projects or simply working in the background. ! the book provides fascinating reading and is recommended." (Jos Heyman, News Bulletin of Astronautical Society of Western Australia, Vol. 31 (3), 2005) "In highlighting the role of the female astronaut and cosmonaut, this book does womankind a significant service. ! It would be excellent if this book was widely ready by girls at school, since it might influence their choice of subjects and ultimate career. ! the book should not be confined to the women's section, because even those men already involved in the space industry would benefit from knowing more about women's achievements." (www.satellite-evolution.com, May/June, 2007)
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