NBC has some new show "coming soon" with a female NASA engineer in the 1960s, which I'm figuring for an anachronism-fest of the first order, likely with risible "science" for a bonus. After snickering at them, I began to wonder--
You see, networks aren't very original and engineering is one of those things that either you can do it or you can't and it's objectively demonstrable which. While historically it wasn't easy for women to get such work, it did start getting more and more possible though the 20th Century. A talented, determined female rocket engineer (or six) might've worked at NASA even back in the unreconstructed 1960s. Was there a real-world counterpart to the TV-program premise?
Oh, is there ever! The U.S. wouldn't've gotten our first successful satellite into orbit without her -- and you've probably never heard of her: Mary Sherman Morgan, who worked out the high specific-impulse fuel that gave von Braun's Jupiter C enough oomph to get Explorer 1 high enough and fast enough to circle the globe.
If you scroll to the bottom of the Wikipedia article, there's a hint, perhaps, of where NBC got their idea. History is, yet again, more impressive than fiction.
6 months ago