HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - NASA announces its final choice for its first group of astronauts, the "Mercury Seven." These men were Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton.
President Eisenhower demanded that all applicants to NASA's first call for astronauts be pilots of test aircraft. NASA imposed strict height, weight, age, fitness and intelligence standards. The list of applicants fell from 110 to 18 because of the stringent examinations that included enemas and treadmill sessions.
In 1979 Tom Wolfe published The Right Stuff, a detailed account of the Mercury Seven's selection process and eventual space flights. A film version of The Right Stuff premiered in 1983 starring Ed Harris, Sam Shepard and Scott Glenn.