Bernice Steadman dies; part of NASA's 'Mercury 13' program

AP News
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Posted: Mar 20, 2015 4:28 PM

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A woman who was among 13 selected for training as possible astronauts in the early 1960s has died at her northern Michigan home. She was 89.

Bernice Steadman was a member of the so-called "Mercury 13." NASA dropped the program, and it was 22 more years before a U.S. woman went to space.

Robert Steadman says his wife died Wednesday in Traverse City. She had Alzheimer's disease.

Steadman had a pilot's license before a driver's license. She raced planes across the U.S. and taught people how to fly in Flint.

In later years, her businesses included a clothing store and a taxi company in Traverse City. Steadman joined the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 2003.