When NASA was created that same year, the Air Force program was transferred to it and renamed Project Mercury . The first seven astronauts were selected among candidates from the Navy, Air Force and Marine test pilot programs. On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space aboard Freedom 7 , launched by a Redstone booster on a 15-minute ballistic (suborbital) flight.  John Glenn became the first American to be launched into orbit , by an Atlas launch vehicle on February 20, 1962, aboard Friendship 7 .  Glenn completed three orbits, after which three more orbital flights were made, culminating in L. Gordon Cooper 's 22-orbit flight Faith 7 , May 15–16, 1963. 
The Center will bring together key faculty from UMD, educators from area school systems, and policymakers from local, state and national organizations to tackle challenges in pre-K-12 education, such as the growing student population of English learners and teacher attrition. The Center will also serve to advance school leadership and teacher preparation in Maryland and the region through the development and expansion of new and existing professional education programs. The Center will house the Doctorate of Education in School System Leadership, an innovative, practice-based model that brings together school administrators from a particular county to work collaboratively on solving a problem in the school system.