For All Womankind: Spaceflight Historian on Apple TV+’s Women Astronauts

Click any button for sharing!


FIGHTING FOR SPACE comes out on February 18, 2020. Preorder now! bit.ly/FFSamazon

There’s more The Vintage Space on my blog’s new home: https://medium.com/the-vintage-space (And yes, I know it’s moved around a lot… I’ll collate the archives at some point!)

Comments: 100
  1. Cave Painter

    Your review turns up a bigger question: why can’t Hollywood do good research when dealing with real world/historical/technical topics? If you want to address historical vignettes, then you should honor the real people by at least getting the events correct before you cut into alternative history and your fictional characters. And, by the way, those characters better make sense in terms of what came before, or you’re going to lose me.
    @The Vintage Space – I’m curious if you’ve seen The Expanse, and would like your take on the female characters in that space fiction?

  2. Rob Mrowiec

    What I hate about these shows is how the term “alternate history” is given serious attention. It is hard enough to keep people on target for actual history and empirical fact. Now we have Hollywood producing series that skew history and misrepresent the facts on channels classically considered “educational channels” (such as History, Discovery, etc.) I fear future generations will be–pardon the expression–dumber for what the entertainment industry is doing.

  3. Michael Parrott-MacLeod

    Definitely as soap box for many issues. But a real statement for women belonging in astronautics.

  4. prodestrian

    I loved the show, and the backstory felt true enough that I didn’t question much of it (except for a few things that jumped out immediately at me). Hearing your take on the story of these women astronauts made me want to know even more about what really happened… Guess I’m going to have to buy your book now 😁

  5. streglof

    What I find very telling is, that in this feminist fantasy story, they need their own country to fail, just in order to have their all-woman astronaut crew.

  6. Jesse Jetty

    I think all of the episodes showing the selection and training of the female astronauts were extremely cynical and pretty unrealistic. Let’s be real, no matter how good the optics, someone like Tracy Stevens would never have been considered. Again, this hotdog, cowboy mentality they like to portray in all the astronauts just doesn’t seem to match reality. It makes for interesting TV, but it also does a disservice to the professionalism of the men and women who actually do the job.

  7. Devvy Nully

    In addition to the things that Amy raised, there were other political and social concerns about having women in risky/bleeding edge roles. Although the women involved knew and accepted the risk of death in these roles (as did the men), the politicians and administrators were very worried about voter and political backlash if they had to report that a woman had died as part of the race to space.

  8. Splendid Mendax

    Today January 15 2020., two astronauts are doing a six plus hour space walk . Replacing batteries. Women. This is fantastic. Yet I hope the day comes soon when identifying the gender becomes ancient history. Women never should have had to fight for equality and as a man I find it embarrassing that this battle ever needed to be fought.

  9. Toby Corbett

    Something I found really odd was when Deke bumped Gordo from Apollo 15 to fly Molly in his place. I understand it was Molly flying the mission made an interesting storyline, but after reading Deke Slaytons autobiography I have a lot of trouble believing he would do that, even if he though Molly was a good pilot.

  10. Tomek BEBUL

    You are the best Amy

  11. Brian Day

    I grew up during the Dark Ages (before internet) and watched every NASA launch. I don’t remember much being said about women in the space program. I almost stopped watching this video until you said you stood up and yelled at the TV. I think one of NASA’s problems was that they didn’t want to have to explain why a woman was killed during a space flight. They were very lucky the first few years, up to the first Apollo test failure. Then again until the Shuttle explosion.

  12. Tomek BEBUL

    Teasing video well done

  13. TK34B7 Chance

    I love good Science Fiction stories and movies and even Hollywood style drama of real events like Apollo 13. Living and experiencing Mercury, Gemini and Apollo in real time I can never get enough TV or movies with the moon shot at its central theme. That said, I have no desire to watch this show and it sounds like it’s a justified dis-like of plot concept. Sounds to me I was right to ignore it. It attempts to re-write history in a semi fictional way which I could probably enjoy but when they throw in overt Social Justice undertones and sexism as it applies to todays society the plot concept becomes so incredibly off putting. There are better ways to get my SciFi fix and satisfy my curiosity over real space flight and all the endeavors of NASA. I look forward to reading your book. I do recall briefly the women astronaut buzz back in that era although it was extremely rare to hear about it back then.

  14. Max Buffet

    The show is a combination of “The Astronaut’s Wives” and “Apollo 18”. Full of cliche’s and bizarre leaps. Hey, we need female astronaut’s (that’s great), a year later, they’ve landed on the moon and are scaling the walls of a crater discovering water. Training was ten days of mostly smoking, drinking at a seedy bar, and walking in the desert on a TIMED survival task. Show could have been so much more.

  15. Cat Cameron

    Thank you! Except I think good teamwork is dramatic! And, if we get our ‘history’ from movies, isn’t just surviving and getting the job done enough?
    So, was Jackie Cochran right, that fighting sexism and the Space Race would have diverted time and resources from the latter?
    (Looking forward to your book!)

  16. Andrew Edwards

    Now there are 3 copies of “Apollo Pilot” on the bookshelf.

  17. GURken

    Amy, should I wait for a russian translation of your book or it isn’t in your plans?

  18. fleafrier1

    328k subscribers. I’m not sure exactly what it costs these days but I bet if we each throw in $100-150 we can get Amy a ride to the ISS. Who’s with me??

  19. Mike Phillips

    NASA would’ve been shut down the moment a Woman died.

  20. James Driscoll

    Good assessment.

  21. Niranjan Dusane

    Do u have audible version of FIGHTING FOR SPACE

  22. Lokai

    It’s a ridiculous proposition! I was born in the 60s and remember (as a small child) people being shocked that my mother DROVE A CAR!
    The mere suggestion that NASA would would send a woman to the moon is beyond ridiculous. As a political stunt, they might have sent one into orbit. But the prevailing attitudes, which to current perspectives is so backward as to be not understandable, would have ruled out the possibility. Note the Russians sending up one woman, followed by nobody for almost two decades.
    There is an old quote: the past is a foreign country. It’s true. Attitudes were vastly different. If you are going to tell a story set in another period, it needs to reflect the perspective of that period. This show is revisionist nonsense.

  23. gary schraa

    “Amy for ambassador to the stars and beyond” .  Hey had a good idea ———> That you invite Michio Kaku to the show . They always have him by himself and he needs a younger brighter co-speaker , maybe talk about Russia giving up on the space race and secretly sending probes to Venus called Venera  [1 thru 16 I think]  It’d be cool and definitely a lively conversation . Have your people talk to his people . Happy New Year

  24. Emanrov Emanhcan

    Will you ever go to space ?

  25. Ace Hardy

    🍎

  26. Robeight

    Fiction masquerading as fact is the straw that stoped me watching broadcast TV. CSI had me swearing. Either be faithful, or be proper fiction.

  27. heggedaal

    Amy, I’m no historian but a mere engineer so I’m not as miffed as you were by the inaccuracies. I put it down to artistic license. However, what really annoys me is that much effort was put into realistic depiction of gear (spacesuits, capsules etc.) but wasn’t used properly. E.g. the LEM lifting from the Moon with the descend stage attached. Really?!? Poor writing I suppose.
    Keep up your show, it’s great.

  28. gary schraa

    From 4:48  to  4:53   hahahaha   is super cute . You are funny

  29. zapfanzapfan

    That series is faaar down on my list of shows to see and this review didn’t get it any higher… looking forward to your audio book Amy!

  30. Astro Shlibber

    I know what you mean, if I see an error in a show, it sort of spoils it for me, in one film about astronauts in once scene there were the wrong type of aircraft

  31. Mike Murphy

    Give em hell Amy!! Got my cute note and signature today. I think the show plays a thin line between the different “waves” of feminism and does not always do it well. Could have been much closer to actual history and been just as good.

  32. Geoff K

    Hi Amy
    Just found your channel a few days ago and have been binge watching. I am a huge fan of the X Plane program from the 40s through to the 60s. It’s incredible, so fascinating to me. Then I find your channel and now I get to learn more about the space program, which a lot of the data from the x programs dovetailed into the space programs.
    The aerospace industry as a hole is so incredible, but foundations of how and were all the tech and hardware was developed that is fundamental to todays aerospace industry and the concurrent programs is totally awesome.
    A long winded way of saying thank you for your amazing channel and all the incredible details you put into your vids.
    Just brilliant thank you.

  33. Harry May

    Is that the ksp music in the background?

  34. Jonathan Nedry

    Thanks for creating such a great channel with awesome information. It’s good that you are back from your break and I can’t wait to hear your new book on audible.
    I have a question that’s probably not something many people would feel comfortable asking (not sure I am). I am absolutely ignorant on this topic as I am a male, but how is menstruation handled in space? Is it something that is handled the same way as other bathroom waste (which also seems complicated), or through contraceptives, or something else? As an outside observer this seems like it can be inconvenient even in the best of times… with gravity.

  35. Captain Robert April

    They should’ve hired you as a technical advisor.

  36. Tomek BEBUL

    I watch it all hehe good

  37. kholmar

    Kerbal flashbacks… =)

  38. Michael Wojcik

    Been watching this series and yeah it’s fiction but I’m really enjoying it. Amy you need to get a ride in a Pitts S2A/B or C! NASA actually owned an S2 at one time and astronauts were forbidden to solo in it.

  39. 66kbm

    Where is Pete?

  40. q-_-pLEOq-_-p

    Thanks!

  41. Dirus

    Thank you for this review and critique of the show. I think your observations o the four female characters is what’s lacking today’s media. Make the character believable for the roll they are filling in your story. If a job the character is doing has particular requirements, then your character, man or woman, must meat them. Such as being an astronaut, test pilot, surgeon, SEAL, or short order cook. Bad writing that create drama for the sake of drama, will always come off as disingenuous, and fake. It also leads into tokenism and pandering.

  42. Norwood Partz

    Tall people are still being excluded from space travel.

  43. Apollo

    Make sure to watch the post credits after the season finale you will be so surprised!

  44. Grassy Ranks

    2:25 Amy, NASA Group 3 astronauts (1963) was the first to waive the test pilot requirement; the 1965 group waived the requirement for astronauts to be qualified jet pilots (though they had to acquire that skill during training).

  45. Stralnikov

    Amy, great review! It would be good to hear more from you regarding the later episodes of the first season, including the launch of the Sea Dragon. One fascinating aspect of this series is that the subject of realistic near future sci fi is turned into realistic near past, which then raise the inevitable question of where would we be now if the space program would have followed a different past? Carl Sagan said that the dark ages pushed back space exploration by half a millennia. Did the space shuttle set us back by 30-40 years?

  46. Victor_ Silva

    This video remind me the time I spent playing Buzz Aldrin Race Into Space for DOS. I always aimed to get the woman astronaut special event, so I could aim to my Super Amazing Lovey Dyna Soar girl power Trip moon landing. (In my head that was a secret achievement)
    I liked to speculate how have girls as part of the crew that got mankind into space would affect a alternate history ( as be a punch in the guts of FemNazi’s victimist discourse. )

  47. Vader47000

    I was amused that they managed to get a black woman as an astronaut before they put a black man in the corps. I find the show’s attempts to depict an alternate political landscape equally interesting, even if the social commentary seems heavy handed at times (though even there they steer into it in unexpected ways).
    Also fun is the distinct Ron Mooreisms shining through. Hints of dialogue calling back to Battlestar Galactica and his work on Star Trek.
    It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if it turned out the Romulans or whatever went back in time and gave the Soviets the tech they needed to get to the moon. Not that this is that show, but that it could exist comfortably as a Star Trek prequel playing off the alternate history angle had it been commissioned for that instead of Apple

  48. d d

    Confused again I see

  49. Lee Brown

    preordered a while back on ibooks

  50. Just Me

    Always great to see your videos —> very informative!!

  51. JonMaria Analicia Cristina

    Would love to make a thoughtful intelligent comment about this video; but, since I don’t subscribe to Apple+ TV, I haven’t seen it. Maybe it will be released to DVD or Blu-ray in the near future.

  52. Technical Support

    merry Christmas Amy , and a happy new year

  53. xspager

    Amy, you forgot Ellen Waverly

  54. P C

    Interesting. Perso I would I sent YOU! You the best! THX 😃

  55. BILL Pee

    Off topic… It’s always a pleasure to see on Ancient Aliens! 😁

  56. thebatmanover9000

    Respect whamen!

  57. Rolf Jacobson

    loved the video, thanks for your insights.

  58. Sgt Rock52

    Young lady, I really value your content and enthusiasm. Your knowledge about the space program is unsurpassed. I really wish you could create content on a more regular basis.
    Will you be doing a book signing tour.?

  59. kiaroscyuro

    sending humans in testflights seems insane to me

  60. The Real c too

    I just preordered Fighting for Space!

  61. hippy dippy

    The ksp music honestly makes me happy no matter the content of the video

  62. Steven Dunn

    When on Audible ?

  63. Bert Blankenstein

    I am not that interested in fiction, and I am not about to start watching this TV series. Hopefully we go back to the regular programming soon.

  64. d a t g i o

    Let’s get Queen! 💪

  65. Michael Wojcik

    Looking forward to the audiobook version of your new title.

  66. Tokath1988

    A well thought out video resplendent with arguments that I, being a man, hadn’t considered and now feel bad for.
    Honestly, RDM should put you in the writers room for S2.

  67. Rick Boatright

    Yes, please more Amy…

  68. lxndrlbr

    6:34 “In the Apollo era, astronauts were chosen from the ranks of test pilots because every mission was effectively a test flight” but your pictures shows Mercury capsules, so I think you meant the Mercury-Gemini era? Although early Apollo missions (up to 12 or 13 maybe) were indeed check flights.

  69. Michael Sullivan

    I think you’re waaay too smart for the program and most other things. 🤣 I feel guilty for enjoying it, despite it’s hokeyness.

  70. Corey S

    Amy, you need to do a treatment to turn your book into a TV series or movie. Reality is *MUCH* more interesting than anything some Hollywood hack could come up with. The Apollo 11 movie that just came out with original footage is a prime example.
    Movies can be made or broken in the editing room. I’ve seen a story saying that Star Wars (A New Hope, but I call it just Star Wars, that’s how it was in theaters) was crap, until the editor got her hands on it.

  71. Ian Winston

    Thank you for making these and for your hard work! Yours is a perspective I’m not sure anyone else is offering on social media, and I find it and the history fascinating.

  72. Johnny Stash

    Amy <3

  73. Carighan Maconar

    Hrm, any clue when this’ll be on netflix or amazon?

  74. Joe Smith

    Amy, any chance you might do a Q&A Livestream?

  75. RAYMOND WARTH

    Thanks for the info and yes I do want weekly Vintage Space.

  76. Eduardo Campos

    That’s it! I’m buying your books.

  77. bravo.7452

    loved the show and that after credits scene :o

  78. Bill23799

    The character of Molly Cobb to me seemed to be based on being
    a female version of astronaut Gordo Cooper.

  79. PawelK198604

    It’s been a long since you uploaded your last video, I love Vintage Space, and love that your add Kerbal Space Music to your videos.

  80. g1234538

    Ah, I really appreciated you hit on the Mercury 13. I remember seeing other news stories that took that a similar face value and I have a nagging feeling the writers might not have looked into it much further.

  81. BedsitBob

    “Where they brave, without being foolhardy?”
    Some might argue, that one of them slipped through the net, in this regard.

  82. CAPNMAC82

    You have hit upon the “why” I find h’wood depictions of military personnel so awful.

  83. James Judge

    Here’s an interesting fact. I’m an offshore sailboat racer. When I started (in the 80’s), there was huge bias against having women on boats (btw, I’ve always believed and said that women are a positive on racing sailboats). By the beginning of the 1990s, my opinion of mixed-gender sailing became the norm. Why? Because women are better at some kinds of boatspeed than most men. The forces on a racing sailboat are measured in tens of tons, but there are ways we (including me, a Spinnaker trimmer) don’t get our arms ripped out. I have never found a sailboat racing position a fit woman would not be qualified to occupy. Our downwind team has majority women (I’m the only guy other than the driver), but that’s really about tiny adjustments and nuance. Women generally have a better sense of the factors that contribute to boat speed downwind (mostly, but not exclusively, wind pressure, waves, current, and race position). We have a bunch of strength enhancers on the boat. Not anything that can get rid of all of the load. So any Spinnaker trimmer (female or male) will typically have 300-800 pounds of stress on their body.
    I see a parallel with the way women have just become normal in space. I like this trend.

  84. Gino Giotto

    11:10 that ding killed me lol

  85. Álex Sobrino

    Totally agree. It’s a keen review of the show.

  86. BedsitBob

    If you were offered a flight into space, would you go, Amy?

  87. Terry Smith

    As usual, a well reasoned point of view, with which I am generally in agreement. I haven’t quite finished FAM, but your comments about astronaut selection and suitable personality traits apply to pretty much all of them on the show – male and female. This is what happens when entertainment meets the real world I suppose. Sadly, most people are going to think that this was/is the “real thing”. Looking forward to reading your new book!

  88. Logan Cracraft

    7:44: Don’t you mean, “Did they have the Right Stuff?”
    As far as the series goes, I’ll never watch it. I don’t mind alternate history sci-fi like Man in the High Castle, but I think this show really trivializes the real life achievements of women astronauts. I would have rather seen a docudrama about women in space flight, instead of this Mary Sue fiction that ultimately will mean nothing because it doesn’t tell the real story.

  89. Philippe Hayes

    I vote for Amy to be accepted in the astronaut training program!
    Who is with me?
    Go Amy!

  90. ugthefluffster

    I’d rather watch your impressions from the show than the show itself. This alternate history buisness really irks me, and if I’ll ever watch it, I want to first know what they got wrong to avoid confusion.

  91. BedsitBob

    8:35 “I understand that really good, by the book, calm engineers turned astronauts, or com pilots turned astronauts, does not make for good TV.”
    Hence the shouting scene, between Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, in the movie Apollo 13.

  92. David Levin

    Trail blazing race car driver Janet Guthrie, the first woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, was accepted as one of the four into NASA’s female astronaut training program in the 1960s (such as it was) as she was originally an aerospace engineer.

  93. teucer4

    Now that we are living in the “enlightened” 2020s, we have assumed the role of turning NASA into a politicized agency moral posturing for all the socialist American politicians of today. The former Soviet countries have carried forward conservative and traditional values while America has inherited most of the “progressive” communist ideologies. Forget that our work force has been undermined by immigrants and that boys are routinely outperformed by females in school and have achieved parity in the work force….this is what happens when a counterculture movement runs amok after they’ve already gotten what they want and become rebels without a cause.

  94. qetoun

    Sounds like the same tired, lazy, politically correct Hollywood tropes ritualistically regurgitated as a ‘reflection’ of the world. (sigh).

  95. Craig Corson

    Didn’t this used to be called just “Vintage Space”, without the “The…”? Or is my memory getting worse? If not, then why the change?

  96. Wild_Lee Coyote

    I hate Hollywood’s portrayal if astronauts, why do they always have to create drama and crew tension. It’s like traveling in space isn’t dramatic enough they have to inject more into it. I think people can handle some space without crew drama.

  97. djolley61

    Professionals like Neil Armstrong get to fly the SR-71, X-15, and be astronauts. Pilots like Maverik that buzz the tower don’t.

  98. tarmaque

    You make a great point about how Astronauts were chosen not only for their competence but their lack of ego. Astronauts like Jim Lovell and Neil Armstrong were chosen as mission commanders for that very reason. This is because there’s a difference between justifiable confidence in one’s self and an an attitude of self importance because of those abilities. This is one of the reasons that Neil Armstrong has always been one of my personal heroes. To be quietly competent is much better than to be loudly competent. Don’t tell me; show me.

  99. craigvdodge

    Congratulations, Amy. Now you know how CS majors feel when an actor on a TV show shouts “enhance!” at a computer to make the image less blurry.

  100. sulijoo

    As you would probably agree, Amy, real space history is full of humanity as it is; it speaks for itself. Dramatising it and fictionalising it seems pretty pointless. Unless it’s done properly, such as Apollo 13.

Comments are closed.