The story of the beginnings of the US space program and the first seven Mercury astronauts. The space began when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier. It was after the Soviets successfully launched the Sputnik satellite in 1959, that the U.S. redoubled its efforts to catch up. After rigorous testing, 7 pilots were selected for the program. They instantly became the modern day equivalent of rock stars, appearing on television and having articles written about them in Life magazine. The work was serious however and dangerous, given the poor record the missile designers faced with multiple failures before finally getting a successful launch. There is a good deal of rivalry among the USA’s first astronauts, some quite serious as ambitions and different values come into play.
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