The first American spaceflight was a triumph—for an astronaut and for a nation.
- By Tony Reichhardt
- AirSpaceMag.com, May 05, 2011
Americans didn't learn the name of the county's first space man until three days before his launch. In February 1961, NASA had announced that one of three men would fly the mission—either Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, or John Glenn (the center three in this lineup, flanked by Gordon Cooper and Wally Schirra on the left and Deke Slayton and Scott Carpenter on the right). News reporters were betting on Glenn. But the astronauts had already been told in January that Shepard would be first. When NASA finally revealed his name after a launch scrub on May 2, Shepard wrote later, "I was relieved....It was getting to be a strain keeping the secret."