What is the most successful NASA mission
First NASA selection of astronautsThe glorious Mercury 7
In October 1958 - just a few days after the agency was founded - those responsible for NASA decided on the Mercury project. It was about putting a person into earth orbit, letting him gain experience in space and bringing him safely back to earth.
It was immediately clear to the selection committee that the requirements for astronauts were similar to those of test pilots in the military. More than five hundred applications were received in response to the announcement.
After all, 18 candidates had qualified as fundamentally suitable. Sixty years ago today, the NASA working group announced which seven astronauts they have selected for the future Mercury program:
Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Walter Schirra, Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton. They all went into space.
Requirement for the Gemini and Apollo projects
Alan Shepard became the first US citizen to venture into space in 1961. That was only a small hop of 15 minutes - but later it flew to the moon. In 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth - and a quarter of a century later, the first space tourist on board a US space shuttle. Gus Grissom was burned in the Apollo capsule during a test on the ground in 1967.
The most successful of the Mercury Seven: Alan Shepard, with the Apollo 14 mission on the moon (NASA)
The work of the Mercury 7 was the prerequisite for the Gemini and Apollo projects. Without the brave seven, Neil Armstrong could not have set foot in the moondust almost fifty years ago.
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