In 1961, Wally Funk was among the Mercury 13, the first group of American pilots to pass the ‘Women in Space’ programme. Wally sailed through a series of rigorous physical and mental tests, her scores beating many of the male candidates’, including those of John Glenn, the first American in orbit. But just one week before she was due to enter the final phase of training, the programme was abruptly cancelled. A combination of politics and prejudice meant that none of the women ever flew into space. Undettered, Wally went on to become one of America’s first female aviation inspectors and civilian flight instructors, though her dream of being an astronaut never dimmed. In this offbeat odyssey, journalist and fellow space buff Sue Nelson travels with Wally, now approaching her 80th birthday, as she races to make her giant leap – before it’s too late.