The Mercury Seven

Today in History, April 9, 1959:

NASA announces the identities of “The Mercury Seven”, America’s first astronauts.

Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton, 3 from the USAF, 3 from the USN, and one Marine.

The seven, all test pilots, had been selected from over 500 applicants after arduous testing. The astronauts had to have at least a bachelor’s degree and among other specs, could not be over 5’11” tall so they could fit into the space capsules.

They would take flight in all of the space missions through the space shuttle program. 36 years later, Senator John Glenn would become the oldest astronaut to fly a mission (so far) at age 77.

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