Re: ...pretend to be astronauts.
"Alan Shepard, on the other hand, was pretty-much a ballistic trajectory. I'd be surprised if there was much piloting to be done in that instance."
Absolutely correct. Lack of pilot controls, and IIRC the initial design decision to not even have a porthole, were the biggest gripes of the early astronauts. Why use test pilots if all they had to do was sit there twiddling their thumbs?