“Women With the Right Stuff” BBC ‘The Documentary’ podcast

Photo Credit Sue Nelson at http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36824898
Photo Credit Sue Nelson at http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36824898

Hello all, from Burma (Myanmar), where I am catching up on a bit of work before I head out to do the Circle Line train around Yangon (Rangoon).

Gender and space issues rolled into one topic: brilliant. This is a BBC World Service programme for The Documentary, available to listen to (50 minutes). I wonder whether I could get Wally to write a Viewpoint for Space Policy? She sounds amazing. 

From the website for the programme: Women with the Right Stuff

“The first footsteps on the Moon were one giant step for ‘man’, but from the early days of aeronautics women have also been involved in space travel. In Women with the Right Stuff, presenter, pilot and aspiring astronaut Wally Funk pays tribute to the pioneers, meets some of those involved within today’s space industry, and hears from the woman who might be among the crew for the first human mission to Mars.

Wally has first hand experience of the early days of space travel in America. She undertook secret tests to become an astronaut in 1961 and, along with 12 other female pilots, passed the extremely tough physical tests to become an unofficial member of the ‘Mercury 13’ – the women who, given a chance, could have gone into space before Russia’s Valentina Tereshkova made history.

Wally hears from astronauts Jessica Meier, Helen Sharman, Eileen Collins and Samantha Cristoforetti; mission control flight director Mary Lawrence; space historian David J Shayler; and shares her 1961 astronaut medical tests with NASA flight surgeon Shannan Moynihan.

Over 50 years after those tests, Wally is still flying (she takes her producer above Dallas in a Cessna) but she is yet to get into space. However Wally is on the waiting list for one of the first commercial space tourism flights and is prepared to make history as yet another woman with the right stuff.

Image: A Wally Funk playing card, Wally was one of the original Mercury 13, Credit: BBC”

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Dr Jill Stuart is an academic based at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is an expert in the politics, ethics and law of outer space exploration and exploitation. She is a frequent presence in the global media (print, radio, television, documentary) and regularly gives lectures around the world. From 2013-2017 she was Editor in Chief of the Elsevier journal Space Policy where she remains on the Editorial Board. She is also on the Board of Advisors of METI International, conducting scientific research into messaging potential extraterrestrial intelligence. She is one of an elite number of people to be endorsed by the UK Home Office as an Exceptional Talent Migrant/ World Leader in her Field. In 2015 she was awarded the prestigious Margaret Mead Award Lecture by the British Science Association in recognition of her cutting edge research. She is trained in both domestic and international mediation and has done consultancy work for the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. She has a sub-specialism in women, peace and security and gender based violence. She is a Trustee of Luton All Women’s Centre.


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