In 2016, the hit film Hidden Figures shined a bright light on the story of three black women whose skill in mathematics and engineering were instrumental to the success of the NASA space program in the 1960s. The film was a box-office smash, earning nearly 10 times its budget, and was nominated for three Academy Awards, including best picture. Some unsung women behind Americas first forays off this planet finally received the big mainstream recognition they deserved.
Continuing that narrative (though, on a less triumphant note) is Netflixs upcoming documentary, Mercury 13, about 13 women who underwent the same training—in a privately funded program outside of NASAs purview—as the official male candidates for the first manned space flight. They were put through rigorous screenings and performed well, sometimes better than the famous “Mercury 7” group of men. But NASA was not receptive to the results of the study, and the women were denied their chance to slip the surly bonds of Earth. Now, a half-century later, the story of the unheralded “Mercury 13” is being told in full. Vanity Fair has the debut trailer and poster for the documentary, which will drop on Netflix on April 20.
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