Cobb's Quest For Space Flight

Way back in 1959, NASA tested women to be astronauts, and one of the women actually selected was Jerrie Cobb, a test pilot who learned to fly at age 12 and held several aviation records and numerous medals.

But NASA decided only military jet pilots, all men, would become astronauts. Cobb returned to civilian aviation.

At 67, Jerrie Cobb is still flying for a living, and she still wants to go into space. But, she adds, "I'm very happy for John Glenn. Of course, I'd love to be going with him. I'm happy he's getting to go."

She explains her desire to return to space. "It just seems like what I was destined to do. I worked all my life for it. I've been flying since I was 12. There is nothing I want to do more. I'd give my life to fly in space."

But is it wise to send older Americans into space?
"I think that the research they are doing, medical research on the aging and weightlessness is a valid reason to send John Glenn and I think it's even a more valid reason to send women since a majority of older people are women."

She adds that "80 percent of the older people in nursing homes are women. So I think that we need the research on women as well as men. I hope that I will be chosen to do that part of the medical research."

Cobb says NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin "said that if everything goes well with the John Glenn flight and the medical data comes back, that it would be logical to send a woman next, and that he knows of no one more qualified or deserving than I would be to fly in space."

Cobb says she will be at the Glenn launch on Thursday.

"I was here when John Glenn went up in 1962," she recalls. "It was a very moving experience for me. I could almost feel like I was there with him. I wasn't about to miss his second space ride. I'm happy to be here and to wish a fellow pilot, a kindred spirit John Glenn, a very safe flight."

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