In 1961, the scientists who had put the Mercury 7 astronauts through their paces decided to test exceptional women pilots to see if they would do as well--the thinking was that if women were equally good candidates they would save NASA millions of dollars because women took up less space, ate less food, used less oxygen, etc.
The women DID excel and, no surprise, were kept out of the space program. What happened next includes women fighting injustice, and some American heroes behaving badly. It's a riveting story that takes us up to present-day and highlights some of the women for whom the way was paved by these 13 pioneers.
Read more about Almost Astronauts here. Yay for unfair-boundary pushers!