Deke Slayton must recruit female astronauts after Russia lands a woman on the moon named Anastasia Belikova. Starting with 20 "Astronaut Candidates" (informally "ASCAN"), one being Tracy Stevens, wife of Apollo 15's Gordo Stevens. Two of the last of Mercury 13 named Molly Cobb and Patty Doyle. A black woman named Danielle Poole, who works at NASA's computers rooms. A woman named Ellen Waverly round out the last 5, after 200 days of Qualifications testing.
In an alternate timeline, a Soviet cosmonaut, Alexei Leonov, becomes the first human to land on the Moon. This outcome devastates morale at NASA, but also catalyzes an American effort to catch up. With the Soviet Union emphasizing diversity by including a woman in subsequent landings, the US is forced to match pace, training women and minorities who were largely excluded from the initial decades of US space exploration.
For All Mankind - Nixon's Women Synopsis and Schedule