Right Stuff the Mercury Seven Essay

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The pool of qualified candidates immediately dropped from a little over five hundred to less than seventy. Of this number, many were eliminated because they could not endure the various physical and mental tests and the medical exams required. The number finally dwindled down and seven astronauts who are today known as the Mercury Seven were chosen. The Mercury Seven consisted of Alan Shepard Jr., Virgil Grissom, John Glenn Jr., Malcolm Carpenter, Walter Schirra Jr., Leroy Cooper Jr., and Donald Slayton.

We are familiar with cause and effect and causal arguments. This being the case, it is undeniable that the mercury astronauts possessed special qualities that caused them to be chosen for the Mercury Project. NASA only needed a few qualified men for this project and had they stayed with the original criteria, it is possible that they might have chosen men that met some or most of the guidelines, but not exceeded them all as the seven astronauts did. Also, if they held onto the original guidelines they would not have had a class of candidates, such as the Mercury Seven for these astronauts proved that being a military test pilot was not enough. Anyone taking on such an important assignment as being one of the first to travel in space had to outshine others. The seven astronauts chosen were able to stand above all the rest and pass all necessary tests in order to be chosen.
It is a good thing that the criteria were revised since shortly before the first of the seven astronauts (Alan Shepard, Jr.) was to make the suborbital trip into space, it was discovered that the Soviet Union had already done so weeks before. The Soviets had sent a man into space that actually orbited the Earth whereas the United States had not yet even sent someone to make a sub-orbital trip into space. We were behind the Soviets in achieving something no other country had done, so those seven that were chosen had to stand head and shoulders above the rest. In fact, it was discovered that one of the seven (Slayton) would not make the trip into space because of a slight heart condition.

Those that did complete their sub-orbital or orbital trip around the earth were successful. They paved the way for further studies in outer space and their initial efforts led the United States to outdo the Soviets by successfully sending the first man on the moon. The Mercury Seven played an extremely important role in making NASA what it is today. Had it not been for their ability to stand out above many other applicants, it is possible that we might not have been the first to put a man on the moon.


Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff. New York: Farrar, Straus,….....

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