Challenger and Columbia Disasters
Astronauts

Did Chuck Yeager have the right stuff in order to become an astronaut?

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September 02, 2008 10:45PM

Yes, but he wasn't interested or eligible to apply for the astronaut program. He wasn't eligible due to not having a college degree and he wasn't interested because the seven Mercury astronauts weren't selected based on their skills as pilots, they were selected based on their ability to withstand what American scientists guessed were the extreme physical conditions that would be encountered during space flight. Because the astronauts wouldn't really be flying the space craft (which was designed to be flown automatically and remotely from Mission Control), Yeager, as America's hottest test pilot, did not want to become "Spam in a can" as he called the astronauts sitting in their capsule. Essentially he had the right stuff, however he lacked a college degree at the time, thus he wasn't eligible for the initial selection pool. Yes, he did. He was an excellent fighter pilot before becoming a test pilot. He, like many great figher pilots, had vision that was better than 20/20.