NASA's First — The Mercury Seven
NASA Created — July 29, 1958
Mariner 4 — The Mars Flyby
Gemini IV — The First American Spacewalk
Apollo 7 — A Pioneering Triumph
1969 Apollo 11 Moon Landing, The First Man on the Moon
Apollo 12 — November 1969
Locating Planet-X (Pluto)
Challenger 1984 — The First Untethered Space Walk
Viking 1 — The First Mars Landing
The Technical Side of the Cold War...
When the Soviets launched Sputnik into orbit in October of 1957, it stunned the scientific community in the United States and sparked an immediate response that took shape as the American entry into the Cold War Space Race.
The response was swift and multi-faceted; the United States Air Force helped the newly-commissioned National Aeronautics and Space Administration to find qualified jet pilots with test-piloting credentials to participate in a program intent on being first to send manned missions into space.
As a demonstration of the results of their search, and to spark national enthusiasm for space-related efforts, on April 9, 1959, NASA announced Astronaut Group 1, a.k.a. the Original Seven or — most popularly — the Mercury Seven. Their names, now famous, are Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton.
These seven astronauts would take part in human spaceflight programs that spanned decades, including Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and the Space Shuttle.
They Did What They Said They Would Do...
Every member of the Mercury Seven flew in space. As a result, they pioneered a new profession in the United States.
Alan Shepard became the first American in space and later walked on the moon. Glenn was the first American in orbit, and went on to become the oldest person to fly in space at the age of 77.
While the Mercury Seven are no longer with us, their multitude of achievements and awards live on. Americans in 2464 will be able relive their missions and publicity when the time capsule at Cape Canaveral LC-14 (where all of the Mercury-Atlas missions launched from) is opened.
NASA's Mercury Seven Music Video
For more from NASA on the Mercury Seven, here's a 2-minute special music video.
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