Author Ackmann to speak about Mercury 13,  female astronauts who trained for first spaceflight

  • Martha Ackmann

Published: 11/3/2019 9:30:16 PM
Modified: 11/3/2019 9:30:14 PM

ATHOL — Martha Ackmann, author of “The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight,” will speak at the Athol Public Library on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.

Learn about the Mercury 13, a group of women who trained to become astronauts for America's first human spaceflight program in the early 1960s. 

In 1961, just as NASA launched its first man into space, a group of women underwent secret testing in the hopes of becoming America’s first female astronauts. They passed the same battery of tests as did the Mercury 7 astronauts, but they were summarily dismissed by the boys’ club at NASA and in the halls of Congress. The USSR sent its first woman into space in 1963; the United States did not follow suit for another 20 years.

The Mercury 13 tells the story of the dramatic events surrounding these 13 remarkable women, all crackerjack pilots and patriots who sometimes sacrificed jobs and marriages for a chance to participate in America’s space race against the Soviet Union. 

In addition to talking extensively to these pioneers, Ackmann interviewed Chuck Yeager, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, and others with first-hand knowledge of the program, and includes never-before-seen photographs of the Mercury 13 passing their tests at the legendary Lovelace Foundation in New Mexico.

A lasting tribute to these remarkable women, The Mercury 13 is an unforgettable story of determination, resilience, and inextinguishable hope. 

Ackmann tells dynamic stories of American women who've broken barriers, fought against the status quo, dreamed big dreams, and changed America. She is also the author of 'Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, the First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League.'  Ackman has appeared on the 'Today' show, CBS, CNN, the BBC and NPR. Her columns on politics, women's history, sports and aviation have appeared in many publications, including 'The New York Times,' the 'Los Angeles Times,' the 'Chicago Tribune' and A theatrical adaptation of Ackmann's 'Curveball' staged at the Roundabout Theatre in NYC from May to August of 2019.

Books will be available for purchase at this event. Free and open to the public. Register by calling 978-249-9515.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Athol Public Library.

Learn more about Martha Ackmann and the Mercury 13 at: 



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