The books “We Seven” and “The Right Stuff” discussed some requirements for the astronauts for the Mercury Project of NASA.
- must be a Military Test Pilot
- must not be too young or too old
- must not be too tall (not to fit inside the small space capsule)
- must not weigh a lot (to minimize the power required to lift off)
- must be married (so as to have a yearning to get back to earth)
- must pass the medical (physical, stress, …)
A lot of people were disappointed. The list included Chuck Yeager who had broken the Mach limit, and pilots who are civilian pilots, bachelors, tall and heavy (but strong).
- Seven were chosen for the Mercury Program.
- Alan Shepard and Virgil “Gus” Grissom flew sub-orbital flights.
- John Glenn, Walter Schirra, Scott Carpenter and Gordon Cooper flew orbital flights.
- Deke Slayton was “grounded” because of a heart murmur. He became the Director, who led the selection of the Space crews.
Several more were chosen for the Gemini and Apollo programs.
Some restrictions were relaxed.
- Neil Armstrong (Commander of Apollo 11) was a Civilian Test Pilot.
- Swigert, member of the ill-fated Apollo 13 crew, is single.
NASA later launched programs for
- Space Shuttle
- Sky Lab
- Participation in the International Space Station
- Yuri Gagarin was the first USSR Cosmonaut.
- USSR held several Space records (e.g. EVA, first female) until it was taken over by NASA with the Moon Landings.
- Several other nations (e.g. Japan, China) trained astronauts.