In 1961, when 22-year-old aviator Mary Wallace ‘Wally’ Funk arrived at an astronaut test centre in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with ten dollars in her pocket, she was determined to become one of the first women in space. Once there, she successfully passed a series of rigorous physical and psychological tests, which included having ice cold water poured into her ears and electric shocks, before becoming one of the Mercury 13 – the collective name for the 13 American women who had passed the Women in Space Program. But just one week before she was due to enter the final phase of training, the programme was abruptly cancelled and Funk was cheated out of her rightful place in space history.
Wally’s story will be published this October by Westbourne Press. I’m looking forward to yet another slice of women’s history that thus far has remained untold. Today is the exciting cover reaveal for the story of an amazing woman.