Main Event

Wally Funk’s Race for Space

Wally Funk & Sue Nelson

  • 14
  • Oct

2018

Sunday

4.00pm

Black and white photo of Wally Funk, aged 22,  standing next to an airforce plane

  • Black and white photo of Wally Funk, aged 22,  standing next to an airforce plane

In 1961, Wally Funk was one of the Mercury 13, the first group of American pilots to pass the ‘Woman in Space’ programme. Her scores in the rigorous mental and physical tests beat many of the male candidates, including John Glenn, the first American to go into orbit. But just one week before Wally was due to enter the final phase of training, the programme was cancelled and none of the Mercury 13 ever flew into space. Undeterred, Wally went on to become one of America’s first female aviation inspectors and civilian flight instructors, but still dreams of becoming an astronaut. The author of Wally Funk’s Race for Space, Sue Nelson is a broadcaster that presents and co-produces the award-winning Space Boffins podcast. Her documentary Women with the Right Stuff was one of the BBC World Service’s most-listened-to podcasts.

Sue and Wally will be in conversation with Dr Teresa Anderson, Director at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre.