Encyclopedia Astronautica
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Man-In-Space-Soonest Group - 1958
To provide pilots for the USAF Project 7969 MISS "Man-In-Space-Soonest" manned spacecraft. On 25 June 1958 the Air Force completed a preliminary astronaut selection for the project. The list was prioritized according to the weight of the pilot due to the low payload available. The 150-175 pound group consisted of test pilots Bob or Robert Walker, Scott Crossfield, Neil Armstrong, and Robert Rushworth. In the 175 to 200 pound group were William Bridgeman, Alvin White, Iven Kincheloe, Robert White, and Jack McKay. It was the first astronaut selection in history.

Most historians assume the Bob Walker listing is an error for X-plane pilot Joseph Walker, although a Captain Robert P Walker, USAF, did graduate in the Edwards test pilot school class 54-C on 17 January 1955, together with Robert White.

Subtopics

Bridgeman American test pilot, 1949-1960. Flew the D-558-2 rocketplane and X-3. Declared the latest "The Fastest Man Alive" in 1951.

White, Alvin American test pilot, 1954-1967. Chief test pilot for the XB-70.

Walker, Joseph American NACA/NASA test pilot 1945-1966. Flew D-558, X-1, X-3, X-4, and X-5, and into space on X-15 Flights 77, 90, and 91. Killed in 1968 when the F-104 he was flying collided with the XB-70 during a photo opportunity.

Crossfield American test pilot, 1950-1960. First man to reach Mach 2; first Hispanic test pilot.

McKay American NASA test pilot, 1952-1962. Flew into space on X-15 Flight 150, but seriously injured in an X-15 crash in 1962.

White, Robert American test pilot 1960-1962. First person to reach space in a rocketplane on X-15 Flight 62.

Rushworth American test pilot 1958 - 1966. Selected as X-15 pilot in 1958, he made the most X-15 flights and obtained astronaut wings on X-15 Flight 87. Flew 187 combat missions in Vietnam.

Kincheloe American test pilot, 1956-1958. Grew up Cassopolis, Michigan, son of an automotive engineer. Flew the X-2; killed in an F-104 crash, when it flamed out after take-off.

Armstrong American test pilot astronaut 1962-1970. First person to step onto the moon. Member of first crew to dock in space.

Family: Astronaut. Bibliography: 491, 59.

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