An amazing 67 astronauts have Colorado roots and connections. Three made it to the moon. One walked on the lunar surface. Another was a space pioneer. Yet another, a tragic hero.

The list is astonishing. What is it about being from Colorado that has created such incredible individuals? Those with the brains, dedication, and heroism to be among the nation's finest. Those with "the right stuff." Time doesn't allow to list all the heroes, so I'll take you through a few of the highlights.

I'm dating myself when I say I'm old enough to remember a few of the early moon missions, especially those from the early 70s. What kid didn't grow up wanting to be an astronaut? Safe to say I lowered the bar considerably for myself winding up talking and play music on the radio.

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Scott Carpenter, from Boulder, was one of the original 7 astronauts selected for NASA's Project Mercury in 1959. He was the second American to orbit the earth and 4th American in space.

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Jack Swigert, from Denver, was an American test pilot and NASA astronaut and one of only 24 people who has flown to the moon as part of the Apollo 13 mission. After his NASA career, he was elected to Congress from Colorado's 6th district but died before being sworn in.

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Stuart Roosa, from Durango, was the pilot of the Command module for Apollo 14's trip to the moon. It was the third to land astronauts on the moon. While Shepard and Mitchell spent two days on the lunar surface, Roosa conducted experiments from orbit in the Command Module and one of only 24 to travel to the moon.

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James Irwin was born in Pennsylvania but lived most of his life in Glenwood Springs. He was an American astronaut that served as the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 15 mission. He was the 8th person to walk on the moon. 

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Ellison Onizuka, originally from Hawaii, received his Bachelor of Science and Aerospace Engineering degrees from The University of Colorado. He successfully flew into space as part of the Space Shuttle Discovery crew but was later killed on board the Challenger when disaster struck on that cold January day in 1986. One of those days you remember where you were when you saw the tragedy unfold on television. He was just 39.

Information credit to Wikipedia.