22 – The Mercury Seven

On April 9th, 1959, in Washington D.C., America’s first seven astronauts were announced at a NASA press conference.

The selection process for Astronaut Group 1 started from 508 service records, all from branches of the U.S. Military. From that group, “110 men were found to meet the minimum standards.” A grueling medical and psychological examination process whittled down the number of applicants, with NASA eventually settling on seven instead of six of the 18 finalists.

Who Were the Original Mercury Seven? Back row: Astronauts Shepard, Grissom, Cooper. Front row: Schirra, Slayton, Glenn, Carpenter.