The Right Stuff
By Tim Wolfe
Some people want heroes. Some people want them so bad, they look for them everywhere and anywhere they can. The Right Stuff highlights this in the extreme. It starts off in the wind blown, desert based Edwards flight base, where young pilots test newer experimental planes, or practice flying in the older ones. Some of them are better than others, and they have the hallowed "right stuff", the unspoken attribute where a man would "...put his hide on the line and then have the moxie, the reflexes, the experience, the coolness, to pull it back in the last yawning moment..." (Wolfe 17).
There are those people, the greats, and yet no one knows about them. But then one day, Russia launches the first satellite, Sputnik, into space, and the space race begins.
NASA works hard to send the first human into space, but is overcome by the Russians again. Very desperate to win, they plan to launch their own manned probe. They gather the "astronauts", and prepare to launch them into space.
There is only one problem.
All the Test pilots at Edwards have flown a plane that technically has gone into space, or more than 50 miles into the at atmosphere. And even more, they have complete control of the craft from start to finish. Even the astronauts can't say that. They simply sit in the capsule and wait for launch, maximum height, and reentry, without any say with what happens.
As the "First" American is launched into space, he becomes a hero. But the Pilots at Edwards are unknown, even though they did more. Yet America sees the Mercury astronauts as the only hero's. I learned that in a time of stress and struggle, people single out heroes, even if there are many more.