CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The first US astronaut candidate, pilot Jerrie Cobb, who was advocating equality in space, but never reached his height, died.
Cobb died in Florida at age 88, March 18, after a short illness. The news of her death came on Thursday from journalist Miles O'Brien, serving as a spokesman for the family.
In 1961, Cobb became the first woman to test the astronaut. Overall, 13 women had been subjected to intense physical testing and became known as Mercury 13. But NASA already had its astronauts of Mercury 7, all testing pilots and all military personnel.
None of Mercury 13 ever reached the universe, despite Cobb's testimony in 1962 before the congressional panel.
"We are only looking for a place in our cosmic future without discrimination," she told a special subcommittee of the House on the choice of astronaut.
Instead of making it astronaut, NASA invited her as a consultant to talk about the space program. He was dismissed a week after commenting: "I am the most immediate adviser in any government agency."
In his 1997 autobiography, Jerrie Cobb, Solo Pilot, "My country, my culture, was not ready to allow a woman to fly in space."
For decades, Cobb has served as a pilot of humanitarian aid to the Amazonian jungle.
"It should have gone into the universe, but turned its life into the service of grace," said Ellen Stofan, director of the National Museum of Aerospace and Space Smithsonian and former NASA scientist.
The Soviet Union in 1963 put the first woman in the universe: Valentine Tereshkova. NASA did not fly to a woman in the universe – Sally Ride – until 1983.
Cobb and other surviving members of Mercury 13 attended the launch of Eileen Collins, NASA's first female Space Pilot, and later the first female Space Commander.
"Jerrie Cobb served as an inspiration to many of our members in her record-breaking election, the desire to go to the universe, and only to prove that women can do what men can do," said Laura Ohrenberg, head of the Oklahoma City headquarters for nineties. -Nines Inc., an international organization of licensed pilots for women.
Still hoping, Cobb appeared in 1998 to make another space field, while NASA is ready to launch Mercury's John Glenna astronaut – the first American around the world – to shuttle Discovery at the age of 77.
Cobb argued that a study on the geriatric space should include an older woman.
"I would let my life fly in space, really," Cobb told the Associated Press at age 67. "It's hard to talk about it, but I would. I would then, and I'll do it now."
"Then it just did not work, and I just hope and pray it will be right now," she added.
It is not. NASA has never flown to another elder in the universe, male or female.
Geraldyn Cobb was born on March 5, 1931 in Norman, Oklahoma, the other daughter of a military pilot and his wife. He sailed the open cockpit of the Waco biplanes at the age of 12 and obtained a private pilot license four years later.
The story of Mercury 13 was told in a recent documentary film Netflix, and a piece based on Cobb's life, "They promised her a moon", is currently being performed in San Diego.
In his autobiography, Cobb described how he danced on the wings of his airplane in the Amazon moonlight when he learned by radio on July 20, 1969, that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon.
She wrote: "Yes, I would like to be on a month with my fellow pilots, exploring the other heavenly body. To love to see our beautiful blue planet Earth floating in the black universe. And see the stars and galaxies in their true shine without the filters of our atmosphere. But I am happy to fly here in Amazon, serving my brothers. "Contend, Senor, happy." (I am happy, sir, happy.)