With a major political party in the United States finally nominating a woman to run for President--truly a history-making development--I thought it would be good to explore some of the contributions made by women to our Space Program.
One of the great, untold stories of the post-war era is about the remarkable group of women who “propelled us” into space. A wonderful new book by Nathalia Holt (published in April 2016), titled RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS, is a terrific place to begin your exploration. Divided into four sections that focus on the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s to the present, the book focuses on the fortunes (and misfortunes) of four particular women (though others--like Barby Canright, Marcie Roberts, and Janez Lawson--are mentioned and explored more briefly): Barbara Paulson, Helen Ling, Susan Finley, and Sylvia Miller.
A solid article on NASA’s website about their 50-year employees includes a solid section on Finley (with photo) in the portion about JPL; you’ll have to scroll down the page after a few other (equally interesting) biographies. Of course, what stands out is that she’s the only woman among the group of a dozen or so scientists: http://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/50yearsEmployees.html
SYLVIA MILLER: Sylvia Miller joined JPL in 1968 and has worked on advanced planning for future Mars missions since 1995. She is currently the program manager for Mars Advanced Sub-Surface Access. She received NASA's Exceptional Service Medal for her work on IRAS.
I have to add two more remarkable women to the group. One is Nancy Roman. The other is Mary Sherman Morgan.
MARY SHERMAN MORGAN: Mary Sherman Morgan (November 4, 1921 – August 4, 2004) was a U.S. rocket fuel scientist credited with the invention of the liquid fuel Hydyne in 1957, which powered the Jupiter-C rocket that boosted the United States' first satellite, Explorer 1
NANCY ROMAN: At age 91, Nancy Roman is still going strong. She’s an American astronomer who was one of the first female executives at NASA. She is known to many as the "Mother of Hubble" for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. Throughout her career, Roman has also been an active public speaker and educator, and an advocate for women in the sciences. Here are other web links about her: