Jerrie Cobb, Lady Pilot, testing Gimbal Rig in AWT
Description: Jerrie Cobb, a well-known female pilot in the 1950s, flies the Gimbal Rig in the Altitude Wind Tunnel, (AWT) in April 1960 at the Lewis Research Center (now Glenn Research Center). The Gimbal Rig, formally called MASTIF or Multiple Axis Space Test Inertia Facility, was used to train astronauts to control the spin of a tumbling spacecraft. As part of a privately funded initiative Jerrie Cobb was the first woman to pass all three phases of the Mercury astronaut screening program. However, U.S. Government policy at the time stipulated a number of very specific qualifications for becoming an astronaut, including experience as a military test pilots. So, although the women who had volunteered for this private initiative did as well, or better, on the various screening tests than the original seven astronauts, the effort collapsed when it became clear that the government was not going to overturn the existing list of qualifications to admit any of the women into the astronaut corps.
Image # : C-1960-53088
Date: April 6, 1960