In 1959, the wives of the seven original American astronauts posed for the cover of Life magazine. The space program was in its infancy, with the astronauts’ names having been announced only a few months before and two years to go before the initial flight. The Life article was to serve as the country’s official, in-depth introduction to the wives — the “astrofamilies” had all signed lucrative, multiyear, exclusive contracts with the magazine — and the seven women participated in a cover shoot in which they posed at Langley Air Force Base gathered around a model of the Mercury space capsule.
As instructed by NASA and Life, all the women wore pale shirtwaist dresses, with the exception of saucy Rene Carpenter, who defied orders with a flowered scoop-neck sundress. But even she was toeing the line when it came to the pink lipstick the women had agreed upon in advance.
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The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story
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