1959 mercury

5

On April 9, 1959, the Mercury Seven were introduced to the world (and each other) for the first time. Scott Carpenter, Gordo Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton were announced as NASA’s original astronauts, “selected to begin training for orbital space flight.”

I’ve never seen anything like it, before or since. It was just a frenzy of light bulbs and questions. It was some kind of roar. I know I stumbled through a couple of answers.

What was the real surprise was watching John Glenn. Someone asked if our wives were behind us. Six of us said, ‘Sure,’ as if that had ever been a real consideration. Glenn piped up with a damn speech about God and family and destiny. We all looked at him, and then each other.”

–Deke Slayton on their first press conference