Jerrie Cobb, 88

Jerrie Cobb became the first woman to pass all the preflight tests for being an astronaut in 1961. Though she pushed for equality in space, none of the 13 women who ultimately passed the arduous test, known as the Mercury 13, got to fly. It wasn’t until 1983 that NASA launched the first woman into space, 20 years later than the Russians, but Cobb was an inspiration to many. After leaving NASA, Cobb served as humanitarian aid pilot in the Amazon.

Jerrie Cobb with a display of rockets at a national conference where the leading space experts gathered in Tulsa, Okla., May 26, 1961.
William P. Straeter/AP