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[i]What Lawrence didn't mention was that he himself was one of the 32 finalists for the astronaut program in the early days when Shepard and Glenn were picked to become two of the first seven Mercury astronauts. In his book Space writer James Michener describes Lawrence as "perhaps the ablest" pilot Pax River ever produced - including Shepard AND Glenn. Be that as it may, Lawrence had a minor heart murmur, which was sufficient to knock him out of the final selection. It is no stretch to conjecture that without that minor murmur, the first American into space might have been Bill Lawrence instead of Alan Shepard.[/i]
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