The Mercury 7
On April 9, 1959, NASA introduced its first astronaut class, the Mercury 7. Front row, left to right: Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Donald K. "Deke" Slayton, John H. Glenn, Jr., and M. Scott Carpenter; back row, Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Virgil I. "Gus"; Grissom, and L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.
Dwight Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961. Eisenhower was of Pennsylvania Dutch and a lesser amount of Irish ancestry and was raised in a large family in Kansas by parents with a strong religious background. He graduated from West Point in 1915 and later married Mamie Doud and had two sons. A five-star general and commanded the Allied Forces in Europe during WW2, he was responsible for the invasion of North Africa in 1942–43, the invasion of France, and Germany in 1944–45. After World War II, Eisenhower served as Army Chief of Staff under President Harry S. Truman and then accepted the post of President at Columbia University. In 1951, he became the first Supreme Commander of NATO. He entered the 1952 presidential race as a Republican to counter the non-interventionism of Senator Robert A. Taft and won in a landslide, defeating Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson. Eisenhower was the first U.S. president to be constitutionally term-limited under the 22nd Amendment. n the first year of his presidency, he threatened the use of nuclear weapons in an effort to conclude the Korean War; his policy prioritized inexpensive nuclear weapons while reducing conventional military. After the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite in 1957, Eisenhower authorized the establishment of NASA, which led to the space race. During the Suez Crisis of 1956, Eisenhower condemned the Israeli, British and French invasion of Egypt, and forced them to withdraw. He also condemned the Soviet invasion during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 but took no action. He promoted the creation of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the establishment of strong science education via the National Defense Education Act, and encouraged peaceful use of nuclear power via amendments to the Atomic Energy Act. President Dwight Eisenhower famously warned the U.S. about the "military–industrial complex" in his farewell address. Eisenhower was a moderate conservative who continued New Deal agencies and expanded Social Security. He also launched the Interstate Highway System. His two terms were years of economic prosperity except for a sharp recession in 1958–59. "Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done."
NASA Photo Collection