“Ladies and gentlemen, today we are introducing to you and to the world these seven men who have been selected to begin training for orbital space flight. These men, the nation’s Project Mercury astronauts, are here after a long and perhaps unprecedented series of evaluations which told our medical consultants and scientists of their superb adaptability to their coming flight.
“Which of these men will be the first to orbit the earth, I cannot tell you. He won’t know himself until the day of the flight.”
April 9th, 1959: Sure, the Russians had a head start, but now it was a real race.
L-R: Donald K. “Deke” Slayton, Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Walter M. “Wally” Schirra, Jr., Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, John H. Glenn, Jr., Leroy G. “Gordo” Cooper, Malcolm S. Carpenter