Encyclopedia Astronautica
Man-In-Space-Soonest


On 25 June 1958 preliminary astronaut selection for the Man-In-Space Soonest project was made. The project was cancelled when NASA was formed in and took responsibility for all manned space flight on 1 August 1958.

In a US Air Force briefing a preliminary astronaut selection for the Man-In-Space Soonest project is made. The list consisted of USAF test pilots Robert Walker, Scott Crossfield, Neil Armstrong, Robert Rushworth, William Bridgeman, Alvin White, Iven Kincheloe, Robert White, and Jack McKay. This was the first preliminary astronaut selection in history. The project was cancelled when NASA was formed in and took responsibility for all manned space flight on 1 August 1958. Prospective contractors estimated it would take from 12 to 30 months to put the first American in orbit. In retrospect the orbital flight portion of NASA's Mercury program was paced by the availability of the Atlas booster. Therefore it is unlikely Man-in-Space-Soonest would have put an American in orbit any earlier than Mercury.

First Launch: 1958.06.25.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Bridgeman Bridgeman, William Barton (1916-1968) American test pilot, 1949-1960. Flew the D-558-2 rocketplane and X-3. Declared the latest "The Fastest Man Alive" in 1951. More...
  • White, Alvin White, Alvin Swauger (1918-2006) American test pilot, 1954-1967. Chief test pilot for the XB-70. More...
  • Walker, Joseph Walker, Joseph Albert (1921-1966) 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. More...
  • Crossfield Crossfield, Albert Scott (1921-2006) Hispanic-American test pilot, 1950-1960. First man to reach Mach 2; first Hispanic test pilot. More...
  • McKay McKay, John Barron (1922-1975) American NASA test pilot, 1952-1971. Flew into space on X-15 Flight 150, but seriously injured in an X-15 crash in 1962. More...
  • White, Robert White, Robert Michael (1924-2010) American test pilot. First person to reach space in a rocketplane on X-15 Flight 62. More...
  • Rushworth Rushworth, Robert Aitken (1924-1993) American test pilot. 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. More...
  • Kincheloe Kincheloe, Iven Carl (1928-1958) 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. More...
  • Armstrong Armstrong, Neil Alden (1930-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on Gemini 8, Apollo 11. First person to step onto the moon. Member of first crew to dock in space. More...

See also
Bibliography
  • Swenson, Grimwood, Alexander, Charles C, This New Ocean, Government Printing Office, 1966. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Reichhardt, Tony, "First Up?", Air and Space, August/September 2000. Web Address when accessed: here.

Man-In-Space-Soonest Chronology


1958 June 25 - .
  • Man-In-Space-Soonest - . Crew: Walker, Joseph; Crossfield; Armstrong; Rushworth; Bridgeman; White, Alvin; Kincheloe; White, Robert; McKay. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Walker, Joseph; Crossfield; Armstrong; Rushworth; Bridgeman; White, Alvin; Kincheloe; White, Robert; McKay. Agency: USAF. Flight: Man-In-Space-Soonest. Spacecraft: Project 7969. In a US Air Force briefing a preliminary astronaut selection for the Man-In-Space Soonest project is made. The list consisted of USAF test pilots Robert Walker, Scott Crossfield, Neil Armstrong, Robert Rushworth, William Bridgeman, Alvin White, Iven Kincheloe, Robert White, and Jack McKay. This was the first preliminary astronaut selection in history. The project was cancelled when NASA was formed in and took responsibility for all manned space flight on 1 August 1958. Prospective contractors estimated it would take from 12 to 30 months to put the first American in orbit. In retrospect the orbital flight portion of NASA's Mercury program was paced by the availability of the Atlas booster. Therefore it is unlikely Man-in-Space-Soonest would have put an American in orbit any earlier than Mercury.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use