A licensed commercial pilot from the time she was 18, Jerrie Cobb held three world aviation records, piloted 64 different types of planes and, by the time she was 21, was at the stick delivering military aircraft to American Air Force bases around the world. In 1959, when NASA was selectingastronauts, she and a handful of other women were invited to submit their applications. But there was a catch: NASA required astronauts to have experience flying jet fighters and the military forbade women from applying for those positions. That was a neat little box that no woman—at least at that time—could escape. Cobb, one of America’s most gifted aviators, never flew in space.
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