Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts


Watch members of the Mercury 7 describe the establishment of the Foundation in their own words:


More than 30 years ago, the six surviving Mercury 7 astronauts – Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Walter Schirra, Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton – came together with the goal to use their joint credibility to encourage students to pursue scientific endeavors to keep America on the leading edge of technology. That idea led to the formation of the Mercury 7 Foundation, which later became the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF).

Together with Betty Grissom (widow of the seventh, Virgil “Gus” Grissom), William Douglas, M.D. (the Project Mercury flight surgeon), and Henri Landwirth (Orlando businessman and friend of the astronauts) the Mercury 7 astronauts provided scholarships for students that excelled in the area of science.


Today, astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs have joined in the mission. Through the garnered support of astronauts, industry leaders, educational institutions and patrons, ASF awards merit-based scholarships to the best and brightest university students who excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The prestigious Astronaut Scholarship is known nationwide for being among the largest monetary scholarships awarded to undergraduate STEM students. Since its inception, ASF has awarded over $4 million in scholarships to more than 400 of the nation’s top scholars.

Candidates for the scholarship must be nominated by their university professors and must exhibit leadership, imagination and exceptional performance in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The accomplishments of the Astronaut Scholar alumni have profoundly impacted our nation through technological innovations in health care, energy, defense, aerospace, homeland security, and so much more.


Through ASF educational symposiums and technical conferences, U.S. Hall of Fame Astronauts and Astronaut Scholar Alumni share their personal education and work experiences to emphasize the importance of STEM to students and the general public. ASF continues to develop new partnerships with educational facilities and technological industry leaders throughout the nation to promote STEM awareness in the on-going effort to strengthen America’s innovative competitiveness.

The Astronaut Scholarship program has been so successful and the results have been so encouraging that ASF is increasing the number of scholarships and participating universities.

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.