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60th anniversary of America's first astronauts

Microsoft News | Slide 1 of 27: Group portrait of the Project Mercury astronauts as they pose in their pressure suits in 1959. They are, back row from left, Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. (1923-1998), Virgil Ivan Grissom (1926-1967) (known as Gus Grissom), and Leroy Gordon Cooper Jr. (1927-2004) (known as Gordo or Gordon Cooper); front row from left, Walter Marty Schirra Jr. (1923-2007) (known as Wally Schirra), Donald Kent Slayton (1924-1993) (known as Deke Slayton), John Herschel Glenn Jr. (1921-2016), and Malcolm Scott Carpenter (1925-2013) (known as Scott Carpenter).

On April 9, 1959 NASA announced the astronauts for its nascent man-in-space program, "Project Mercury." The astronauts collectively became known as the "Mercury Seven." Let's take a look back at America's first astronauts. 

(Picture): The Project Mercury astronauts pose in their pressure suits in 1959. Back row, from left: Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. (1923-1998), Gus Grissom (1926-1967), and Gordon Cooper Jr. (1927-2004); front row, from left: Wally Schirra Jr. (1923-2007), Deke Slayton (1924-1993), John Glenn Jr. (1921-2016), and Scott Carpenter (1925-2013). 

© Ralph Morse/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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