The Mercury 7 were a group of seven men, who were Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., John H. Glenn, Jr., Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and Donald K. "Deke" Slayton. The main purposes of the Mercury Project were to test the effect of zero gravity on humans and to send a man to space and successfully receive him.
The Mercury 7 were chose from a group of 110 test pilots due to space flight being similar to the experiences the test pilots had. During screening the examiners found that Slayton had a previously undiscovered heart condition, he was grounded but remained on the team as a sort of leader or coach to the Mercury team. On April 9, 1959 NASA introduced the public to the Mercury 7, the public soon treated the Mercury 7 like heros.
Alan Shepard became the first American to orbit the Earth in May 1961 the rest of the pilots went into space at later dates and many were included in the Gemini program and Apollo missions. The Mercury 7 gained public interest in space travel and paved the way for future missions.