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  • Jim Hayden

    "The Original Seven. In this 1960 photograph, the seven original Mercury astronauts participate in U.S. Air Force survival training exercises at Stead Air Force Base in Nevada. Pictured from left to right are: Gordon Cooper, Scott Carpenter, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Virgil Grisson, Walter Schirra and Donald Slayton."

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Shepard, Glenn, Slayton, Grissom, Schirra, Cooper, Carpenter. Swap the names around, place them in any order you like — they’ll still be recognizable as belonging to the dauntless men NASA chose as the nation’s first astronauts: the Mercury 7

Mercury Spacecraft, designed and built by McDonnell, St. Louis for NASA. Signed by the six astronauts who flew in the Mercury program: Alan B Shepard, Gus Grissom, J H Glenn, Jr., Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra and Gordon Cooper.

Cover boys -Fifty years ago, America's astronauts were celebrities. The cover of Life magazine's issue for March 3, 1961, featured Mercury astronauts John Glenn, Gus Grissom and Alan Shepard.

Astronaut Alan Shepard, Jr., poses in the Mercury space craft at Cape Canaveral in 1961. Shepard, the first American to fly in space and one of only 12 Americans to walk on the moon.

Original seven Mercury astronauts undergoing survival training at Stead AFB.

Mercury program astronaut survival training, Stead AFB.

John Glenn's Mercury mission was the first American space flight around the world. #Infographic

The Mercury Redstone. This one carried Alan Shepard into sub-orbit space on May 5th, 1961. On a personal note, this is, in my opinion, the most beautiful rocket NASA ever launched.

Original seven Mercury astronauts undergoing survival training at Stead AFB, exit the base operations building.

30 Of The Most Powerful And Popular Images From Flickr Mercury 7, Autographed by Astronauts to Ed Heinemann, 1959.

In December 1949, 1st Lt. Croston Stead, a Reno native, lost his life when his P-51 Mustang crashed at the base during a flying training mission. In January 1951, the base was named Stead in his honor.