Chuck Yeager (Sam Shepard) makes another flight into the upper levels of the atmosphere to show that test pilots who aren't part of the space program aren't obsolete. In 1967, Gus Grissom (Fred Ward), Roger Chaffee and Ed White die in a fire in their capsule during the Apollo program. Gordo Cooper (Dennis Quaid) finally goes into outer space (in May 1963) and his flight was the final flight (22 orbits around Earth) of the Mercury space program and the final solo flight.
Factual error: Chuck Yeager's sidekick, Jack Ridley, appears in many key events which occurred after 1957, including the climactic 1963 test flight of the NF-104 plane that Yeager ejects from and is picked up by Ridley. Jack Ridley actually died in 1957, when the aircraft he was co-piloting crashed into a mountain in Japan.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: The first American into space is not going to be a chimpanzee. I want test pilots.
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