For the final selection of astronauts, representatives met at NASA's
Langley Research Center, Va. Included were representatives of both
medical and technical fields from NASA, the USAF Aerospace Medical Laboratory,
and the Lovelace Foundation.
On April 2, 1959, NASA announced that seven astronauts had been chosen
for Project Mercury. They were: Lt. Malcolm S. Carpenter, USN; Capt.
Leroy G. Cooper, Jr., USAF; Lt. Col. John H. Glenn, USMC; Capt. Virgil
I. Grissom, USAF; Lt. Comdr. Walter M. Schirra, Jr., USN; Lt. Comdr. Alan
B. Shepard, Jr., USN; and Capt. Donald K. Slayton, USAF.19
Within the next 24 months these names were to become household words throughout
the world names that symbolized the dreams and hopes of mankind throughout
the free world that space would truly be explored for the benefit of all
According to the Lovelace report:
The seven ultimately selected were chosen because of their exceptional
resistance to mental, physical, and psychological stresses, and because
of the particular scientific discipline or specialty each presented....
Their average age was 34.1, with ages ranging from 32 to 37. All
of these men were married.20
Senate Report 1014 gave substantially the same information:
Data from the Lovelace and WADC examinations were compiled and forwarded
to the NASA Langley space flight activity, for the fourth and final step
in the selection process. At Langley, a group representing both the
medical and technical fields evaluated the previous examinations.
The seven ultimately selected were chosen as a result of physical, psychological
and stress tolerance abilities and because of the technical experience
19. We Seven (New York: Simon & Schuster,
Inc., 1962), written by the astronauts, recounts their personal experiences,
including their reactions to the medical tests performed.
20. Lovelace et al., op. cit., p. 681.
21. Project Mercury: Man-in-Space Program
of the NASA, op. cit., p. 43.