Astronaut John Glenn was one of the Mercury Seven, the first Americans trained for spaceflight. Before Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in his Friendship 7 mission on February 20, 1962, he went through a lot of training.
NASA legend Scott Carpenter – a member of America's original Mercury Seven – died yesterday at the age of 88, after suffering a recent stroke. Today, LIFE Magazine marked his passing by unveiling a trove of rare photographs showcasing Carpenter's public and private life.
Fifty years ago today NASA announced The Mercury Seven: the seven men to make up their first astronaut class. To commemorate this event, here are some interesting factoids about these American heroes.