The first class of NASA astronauts, dubbed the ?Mercury 7,? were put through a series of rigorous tests to prepare them for space. From heat chambers to to simulated weightlessness.
It began with the Soviet satellite Sputnik beeping over America's skies in 1957 and entered overdrive with President Kennedy's challenge in 1961 to reach the moon by the end of the decade. The early days of the Space Race were full of urgency, uncertainty, huge risks, and even bigger rewards. Witness NASA's first team of astronauts endure a crash course in space travel, presented through rare archival footage, interviews, and objects on display and in the vaults of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
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