‘Mercury 13’ Review: Netflix Documentary Shows How Women Were Robbed of Spaceflight in the Sixties

“Mercury 13” While “Hidden Figures” explored the progress of black women behind the scenes as the U.S. launched the first man into space, the Netflix-produced documentary “ Mercury 13 ” probes another struggle for inclusion taking place at the same time — the attempt by several woman to make the cut as astronauts. Unfolding as a series of tests in 1958 as NASA prepared for Project Mercury, the experiments on the eponymous 13 women have received far less exposure than the stories surrounding the NASA excursions themselves, but this straightforward, informative documentary provides an efficient historical revision, arguing that the bracing stories of the first men to enter space aren’t complete without an acknowledgement of the women stuck on Earth. An engaging blend of modern-day interviews and archival footage, “Mercury 13” complicates the traditional narrative of triumph surrounding the Mercury missions of the ‘60s and their culmination with the moon landing. The surviving members of the test recall their extensive aviation credits, and eagerness to be a part of NASA’s landmark progress, while bemoaning the “cookie-cutter males” singled out for the first flights. The complaint is especially troubling in the context of movie populated by alternatives. “I think we […]

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