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Mercury 7 + The New 9 = The New Frontier in Space Exploration

Amidst the symbolic great Space Race of the 20th century, the U.S. ramped up its NASA missions, recruiting some of the country’s smartest minds to successfully explore outer space before the Soviet Union outdid them.

Enter Mercury Seven, NASA’s prize pickings of men chosen in 1959 to go to outer space, becoming instant heroes, cowboys, adventurers compared to history’s great explorers — and like Magellan and Columbus — these men truly found new frontiers.

The seven men chosen =- Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper and Deke Slayton flew on all classes of NASA manned orbital spacecrafts, the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle as lucky chosen test pilots.

Then, in 1962, NASA threw some new ingredients in the mix, also known as the The New Nine, or Group 2, and these men helped to expand and bolster up the Gemini and Apollo programs. Lunar landing was of course the mighty prize, and these men fit the bill — most with advanced engineering degrees or significant test pilot expertise.

Space memorabilia is one of our passions here at Nate D. Sanders, and continues to be a hot market as space items are usually one of a kind or come from the astronauts’ personal collections themselves.

Like this photo of the original Mercury 7 team, signed by all 7 of the first Americans in space, which sold for an impressive $4,467.60 in our September auction.

In our December auction, we have an original photo of both the Group 1 (Mercury 7) and Group 2 (New Nine) NASA 16 astronauts, signed by each of them, including the late Neil Armstrong.

Signers are ”Neil Armstrong”, ”John Glenn Jr.”, ”Wally Schirra”, ”Scott Carpenter”, ”Gus Grissom”, ”Alan B. Shepard”, ”Gordon Cooper”, ”James Lovell”, ”John Young”, ”Deke Slayton”, ”Edward H. White II”, ”James A. McDivitt”, ”Elliot See”, ”Charles Conrad”, ”Frank Borman” and ”Thomas P. Stafford”.

Check out this clip to see archival footage of the men featured in this photo, many of whom describe candidly the most competitive, politically charged atmosphere in space history.

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