The Original Mercury Seven

Kennedy Space Center-Florida

The Mercury Program was the first to launch the first American Astronauts into space.

It’s been more than 60 years since NASA introduced these men of “cosmic knowledge” to the nation.

M. Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., John Glenn Jr.,Virgil Grissom, Walter Schiarra, Jr., Alan Shepard, Jr. Donald K. Slayton

The Mercury 7 astronauts went on to have stellar careers in the space program.  All but Slayton, who was grounded by a heart murmur, flew pioneering Mercury missions of increasing duration between 1961 and 1963. Slayton was eventually reinstated and flew on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, a joint American-Soviet space flight, in 1975, becoming the last of the original group to fly in space. Carpenter made his single trip into space during the three-orbit Mercury 7 flight. Cooper flew the longest Mercury mission in 1963 and two years later went on to fly on the then record-breaking eight-day Gemini 5 flight. Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 and returned to space in 1998 as the oldest person ever to fly, during Space Shuttle Discovery’s STS-95 mission. Grissom flew the second suborbital Mercury mission in 1961, the first Gemini mission in 1965, and was designated to command the first Apollo mission when he died in a fire during a launch pad training exercise. Schirra was the only person to fly Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, accomplishing the first rendezvous and commanding the first crewed Apollo flight. After becoming the first American in space in 1961, Shepard was grounded by an inner ear condition, but was later reinstated and became the only one of the Mercury 7 to walk on the Moon during Apollo 14″. To read more click here

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