Space History Photo: Seven Members of the First Lady Astronaut Trainees in 1995
These seven women were part of the FLATs program which paved the way for the first female shuttle pilot.
Credit: NASA.

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, exuberant and thrilled to be at the Kennedy Space Center, seven women who once aspired to fly into space stand outside Launch Pad 39B neat the Space Shuttle Discovery, poised for liftoff on the first flight of 1995. They are members of the First Lady Astronaut Trainees (FLATs, also known as the "Mercury 13"), a group of women who trained to become astronauts for Americas first human spaceflight program back in the early 1960s.

Although this FLATs effort was never an official NASA program, their commitment helped pave the way for the milestone Eileen Collins set: becoming the first female Shuttle pilot. Visiting the space center as invited guests of STS-63 Pilot Eileen Collins are (from left): Gene Nora Jessen, Wally Funk, Jerrie Cobb, Jerri Truhill, Sarah Ratley, Myrtle Cagle and Bernice Steadman.

Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).