The history of space exploration is full of iconic images — Alan Shepard launching into orbit, Neil Armstrong walking on the moon — but for many years, women were missing from the picture.
From the early days of the space race to the greatest scientific breakthroughs of our generation, women have always played a vital role in the history of space discovery. Sometimes front and center, more often than not invisible, these women helped build our understanding of space from the ground up.
CNET’s new podcast series, Making Space: The Female Frontier, will tell these stories. Check out the trailer below…
Over six episodes, we’re spotlighting the women that shaped space discovery. The women that fought to carve out a place at NASA, the scientists who were overlooked by the establishment all the way up to the trailblazers leading the charge in the next age of discovery — we hear from six iconic women who represent six important eras in space discovery.
Launching on Sept. 9, you’ll be able to hear their stories over six weeks, with a new episode every Wednesday.
You can catch the series on Apple podcasts or search for Making Space: The Female Frontier wherever you listen.
JoAnn Morgan: The Only Woman in the Firing Room
On July 16, 1969, when Apollo 11 launched from the Kennedy Space Center, JoAnn Morgan was the only woman watching from the launch control room. In Episode 1 of Making Space, Morgan tells us her story — from her early days as one of the few women at NASA to the thrill of the moon landing and her continued push to get women involved in space exploration.
Episode 1 available Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Wally Funk and The Mercury 13
In the early ’60s, as NASA’s Mercury astronauts launched into space, 13 women underwent a secret astronaut testing program to see if they had the right stuff to compete with the men. Wally Funk, one of the few surviving members of the “Mercury 13” tells us the story of those grueling tests and why she’ll never never give up on her quest to go to space, all these years later.
Episode 2 available Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Jocelyn Bell Burnell: The Mother of Pulsars
Jocelyn Bell Burnell was just 24 years old when she made one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century, spotting a small “squiggle” on a telescope reading that signified the first pulsar ever discovered. Bell Burnell reflects on a lifetime of work and the Nobel Prize that was ultimately awarded to her supervisor for the discovery.
Episode 3 available Wednesday, Sept. 23.
Kathy Sullivan: The Most Vertical Woman in the World
Kathy Sullivan was in NASA’s first co-ed class of astronauts and was the first US woman to complete a spacewalk. But in 2020, she achieved a totally new feat — becoming the first woman to dive to the deepest part of the ocean. Sullivan tells the story of seeing the world from both extremes and why space isn’t all that different to the ocean’s abyss.
Episode 4 available Wednesday, Sept. 30.
MiMi Aung: Flying on Mars
In July 2020, NASA launched its newest Mars rover, complete with a stowaway: a super-lightweight helicopter that is set to fly on Mars. MiMi Aung, the project lead for the Ingenuity Helicopter, tells us the story of how the project came to be, and how you design a helicopter to fly on another world.
Episode 5 available Wednesday, Oct. 7.
Charlie Blackwell-Thompson: Boots on the Moon
As the first female launch director for NASA, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson is on a mission to get the first woman and the next man back on the moon. She tells us what it takes to launch a rocket — from the years of preparation to the final exhilarating seconds — and why humanity is venturing further than it ever has before.
Episode 6 available Wednesday, Oct. 14.