April 27, 1959 The new space agency cast a wide net in its talent hunt for the nation's first spacemen. While the likes of acrobats and circus daredevils were ostensibly considered, it was only test pilots who had a real shot. NASA hit pay dirt with the seven it chose: Alan Shepard, Virgil Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra, Gordon Cooper and Donald Slayton though some of them were better known by flyboy names like Gus, Wally, Gordo and Deke. They were decked out in silver space suits even if military green would have served equally well and introduced to a fawning country. There was an unmistakable whiteness and maleness to the first astronaut class. And the second. And the third and beyond. But those were not issues that were much noticed. For now it was enough to have found seven men with the willingness to make the harebrained expeditions the space agency had in mind. If they made it back alive, well, that would be even better.