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:astronauts, Aurora 7, Manned Spaceflight, Mercury, Mercury 7, Mercury Program, Navy, our spaceflight heritage, Project Mercury, Scott Carpe...

1959: Astronauts on the Project Mercury mission — the first human spaceflight mission ever. We were working on beating the Russians then.

Take A Look Inside NASA In The '50s

1959: Astronauts on the Project Mercury mission — the first human spaceflight mission ever. We were working on beating the Russians then.

NASA selected Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper in 1959 as one of the 7 astronauts for their Mercury Project. In 1 1/2 days, the Faith 7 spacecraft orbited the Earth 22 times. (photo: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Collection)

NASA selected Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper in 1959 as one of the 7 astronauts for their Mercury Project. In 1 1/2 days, the Faith 7 spacecraft orbited the Earth 22 times. (photo: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Collection)

In 1959, the wives of the Project Mercury astronauts pose for a photo.

Take A Look Inside NASA In The '50s

Astronaut Walter M. "Wally" Schirra, one of the original seven astronauts for Mercury Project selected by NASA on April 27, 1959. The MA-8 (Mercury-Atlas) mission with Sigma 7 spacecraft was the third marned orbital flight by the United States, and made the six orbits in 9-1/4 hours.

Astronaut Walter M. "Wally" Schirra, one of the original seven astronauts for Mercury Project selected by NASA on April 27, 1959. The MA-8 (Mercury-Atlas) mission with Sigma 7 spacecraft was the third marned orbital flight by the United States, and made the six orbits in 9-1/4 hours.

Mercury "Freedom 7" capsule in which Alan Shepard became the first American in space on May 5, 1961.

Mercury "Freedom 7" capsule in which Alan Shepard became the first American in space on May 5, 1961.

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