SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Laurel van der Wal (1924-2009), American aeronautical engineer. After working as an aircraft mechanic during the Second World War, van der Wal enrolled on a mechanical engineering degree at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, graduating in 1949. She then studied aeronautics in Stockholm, Sweden, before returning to the US to work on missile systems. In 1958 she became head of bioastronautics at Space Technology Laboratories, where she launched three MIA (Mouse-in-Able) experiments to test the mammalian physiological response to spaceflight. Photographed in 1961.
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