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Also, I get the impression that astronauts were probably required to have experience and maturity
Like, broadly speaking, someone in their 30s/40s would be preferred to a 20 something hothead as a safe pair of hands in that context. It's probably only since the youth revolution of the 60s (which the space programme ran parallel to but wouldn't have been influenced by) that being in your 20s has culturally been considered the peak for men. I get the impression that in the earlier 20th century 40s would be considered a man's prime, as the sweet spot of retained physical ability coupled with acquired intellectual maturity.