Plotner (who later married and took her husband’s name) posed in Gus Grissom’s suit in the 1960s. When this photo appeared for sale on eBay in 2006, it caused some confusion:
Has anyone ever seen photos of women wearing Mercury spacesuits?
My first thought was to respond that it had to be Jerrie Cobb or one of the other “Mercury 13” ladies. But then I saw the photos.
I don’t recognize her. Maybe some of our more “senior” members will recognize her.
Why would NASA allow a model of uncertain provenance to pose in a bespoke B. F. Goodrich spacesuit?
The Collect Space forums never did find the answer, but Bob Crowe did:
”The images (and there were a lot of them) were shot on June 10, 1965 and the requestors were R. Crowe and J. Riehman with three entries for Project: Sentinel, Advertizing and TRW advertizing (yes, spelled like that). Another name mentioned was Don Stoehr. Since Williams knew that Bob Crowe was editor of the employee news paper “SenTineL” back then he immediately went to the Archives files and there in the July 2, 1965 issue were several of the photographs and the mysterious blonde woman was identified as Donna Plotner, executive secretary to Frederick W. Hesse, Vice President of Operations at that time.
The “mystery” featured in the last NNG has been solved. A note from Donna (Plotner) Bane who looked so appealing and mysterious in Gus Grissom’s space suit cleared it all up. Turns out Donna, who is now living in Oregon, married Don Bane (now deceased), also of TRW and they eventually left and went to JPL. She well remembers the day of the photo shoot and the difficulty she had in fitting her small frame into Gus Grissom’s even smaller suit.
(I wonder if there’ll ever be a better quality version of this photograph online than the roughly 270x370 image used here? Probably not. Perhaps it would take finding the July 2, 1965 issue of SenTineL.)