The United States' first manned space flight

program, Project Mercury, was accomplished in a
period of 4-2/3 years. This period saw major government agencies and much of the aerospa~e industry
combine skills, initiative, and experience\'in a successful national effort.
During the program, six
manned flights were made with complete pilot
safety and without change to the basic Mercury
concepts. The program showed that man could
function ably as a pilot-engineer-experimentor without undesirable reactions and with no deterioration
of normal body functions in the weightlessness of
space -at least to 34 hours at a time.
Most important, Mercury set the stage for the
longer-duration Gemini flights and the Apollo lunar
landings.
The thought of flying through space has been in
man's mind since the beginning of recorded history.
It was not until the 1950's, however, that technology reached the point that ideas were transformed
into hardware to achieve space flight.
Specific
government- and industry-conducted tests and studies
culminated in the establishment of a national manned
space flight project -later
named Mercury -on
October 7, 1958.
Project Mercury objectives as stated at the time
of project approval were:

were from two sites -Cape Canaveral in Florida
and Wallops Island off the coast of Virginia. Twenty-three launch vehicles were used; these were seven
Little Joe, six Mercury-Redstone, and ten MercuryAtlas rockets. Two ffight tests were off-the-pad
aborts.
Fifteen production capsules (the term
spacecraft was not widely used until the man;;~~.
able Gemini ship was flown) were used for unmanned
and manned flight, some for more than one test,
and one was used solely as a ground-test item.
At the height of Mercury activity, there were
11 major contractors, 75 major subcontractors, and
7,200 vendors working to produce the equipment
needed in the effort. Also included in this endeavor
were Department of Defense forces -ships, planes,
medical assistance, and fltghf and recovery operations support.
'c
Colleges and universities also investigated many
different and significant facets of Project Mercury.
The total cost of the Mercury program was
$3~2,100,000. Of that, $135.3 million was for spacecraft, $82.9 million for launch vehicles, $49.3 million
for tracking equipment and operations, and $53.2million for facilities.

1. To place a manned spacecraft in orbit around
the earth;
2. To investi~ate man's ability to nmction in
space; and
3. To recover the man and the spacecraft safely.
The basic objectives were reached 3 years and 4
months after program authorization with.JohnClenn's
three-orbit flight of Febmary 20,1962. Subsequently,
Scott Carpenter completed a similar mission, then
Wally Schirra and Cordon Cooper made flights of
increased duration to gather added information on
man's performance capabilities and nmctional characteristics in space.
In addition, increasing numbers of special experiments, observations, and evaluations performed
during these missions provided scientific and technical communities with much new information.
Mercury history shows 25 major flight tests in
a 45-month period. Launch preparations and flights

MERCUR Y ASTRONAUTS are (Back row, I to r) Alan Shepard,
Virgil Gri~som.
Gordon Cooper; (front row) Walter Schirra,
Donald Slayton, John Glenn, and Scott Carpenter.

cu

...
..

§='

e

(I)

bI)

..cu
0
~

i

~
r..

...
..
='

0

G)

..
~

'"

~

";'"
~
..

0

;...

,.."'"

,

Cj

0

-=
Qi :s
Q:;

:> bD

:s

~=
cU .,..
=
...

E~

..~
t~
cU

~
"-=

==
0

s
s
Cj

~
..'"
"""""=",
U"':>Qi
0

~
CI)

'"
'"

u
u
='

Q)

cn

==
=-

I

00
I

0
I

..=
~cU

I

""'cU'"
cU=;>.

..I

""'Q)
'"""'
Q);>.",
..="'C~

&:gf
cII
--

C
--

'"VCJ"0=...
-.v
"""""0
V
cII

-

E""'~
'" ...
0 cII
~ V

'"
'"

::

C ;> ...
-c
0
CJ --V

..a

V""'...-= 0.
..0
_--,

~ -

0 --~
V
>-"'CJ'"
...'"

...0
cII""""V

~O~CJ

~

Q)

-

;:§
'"
'"
~
CJ
CJ

='
C/)

Vv '"0
~
CJ ~
V'==

0'"
...8.

'"0.
V~
-0
'-,
..s~

V",~
0 't .'"
c q.>§

V

-I:
CJ

o~
==CJ
.'"0-1:
'"0;-

U
--==
.cn:=

.:=.~

'"0 '" '"0 .g ~
V
'"0
c

'"'

0

V

=

c2 ~

0

V...
CoV ~Co ..~CJ"2.~ :., ~~V
'VV
o SS0

Q)O"'~o;""~"~CJ
:="'-0

..:.;'"0;"
'-;~cg
'"

0

"'O:=";-C";'"
u vCO
CJ~
v""O'CJ~ V
CJO
CJ~"""",""--"""V
E
01?-

D'"
~>"'.:t;Q) Q)

""'=0,

~"t=

~8
>I Q)

I -..

:=..~.D~cn.D'"
cn
0

~

C.I~

I

"t=

..Q)

>21?'"
"'>-

"'-_V_'""'.D"'C.I

~~--9~:.::5"'~

-=

'oI'.
:>. '"
...Q..Q
8. ~C.I
0 Q

o~

.D=
~-

~"O
Q) Q) Q) ...Q)

~>Q"'Q» ~

Q)..8tn8

~

00

~
~

C.I_~

C.I 0
~C.I",
'"
"0
C'~

--Q)

vUv
;>

cn'"'
..r:,...::>.
Q'oI-'c 0 ~
::
I
~
-""'"
~.t~
""""Q
..-0
V ~
~
I:;cE

b~2

v..r:,~.~

"'0'" >.
...~
'
",'
Q...

=tn

=

V.:=--",'"
-'"'~-

---::

.~

~
-"~~E
'"'
V -CO
..r:"...
'~::5"" >.

~v~
--Q)

Q)
'"0.
~
--vC')
0
;>

::..r:,c

8Q3..r:,

~

~
V
..o
;> -'"
~"""
o""..r:,""o

Q

::5

",..r:,
V",£:Q)Q

Q 0
::

cn
t/)

Co)

Q

~-

Q)

"'Q)~

u

0;>
"'0
"' Q
-V
~0
Q
Vcn
..

t>:
~1:;...
~V

."

I

~

.S

Q",
~V

£:

0

0)

C')

=tU

-.

It)

~~

.

~
=

::5

-

I

~

0

c
bDtJ.,E

";,,,e
~§C'
..e:o

C/)

.8~~
=~~

M

~
(X)

'?:

~

~
~

0)0)

~~

~

tU

...
Q)

..c ...

~~

.
IO~

~
~

0
~

~

=I

I

i:E 0-

.::t:'
0

Q)~~

.E.~.
~
c

2- I
cU~

~.:

~

cn

Q
::

Q

,","'" '"
0 V""

::5c-

'"

cu

~~
t-M

to 00

~~

=~cu
cu cu '"

.~

.~ -6' ~
...Q)

t;: =

bnS"""
.~
cu ~

~.~

..:;~~

~~

s~

Q)'"

~cu
'" Q)
=

It
<..8

~

cnO

::

OQV£:
Q ..0'-'

.",

Q",::Cv ~;>
0 o
::o-~U-o

..Q)...~
-;>..

cn
I

~
tU

II)

~

..0 "0

~cIj~ I:

_..0

'=cIj

~ .

..Q

..:;

g.

-;

~ ~~
Q)

etU
II)

..::

~

tU

.:=

;e

t/)

~.

S~

c.~

; 's

N.

Q)

Q)

..8
.g
::-;
cn
E
"2

0,

I:

S

cU

cU

cU

-]

='

U

0)

C/)

~

~
~

"3
E
~

0
0

~
~

s

cU

Q ~

'-""c~"'~""::cn""
..c
v"'v'"
0
V

Q£:OQ::Q
t; 0:=
~ ~

E--

U,. >"in:!:
0:=
.D
-~ ~

~-

=8

C'
8c15

~.,:g"tj-~:J;;
=~I",

~
c:'!
~

~

~.:t;Z :!: -5
.""".DQbD
"; "0'"

"O~=1?-..Q~='a8=='=..Q.

0

-

~

.Q '?' Q 8
Q)C.lQ)~
8 Q..Q
Q) '"

"§ ~ § ~ '" S"O.,:g.,:g.~~C.I
"'~'V~"O='=~Q""

::5 ..c::" ~ ~
~C.I
, Q 8

=t

>Q)
~

~;~~~;~~5=~~~=Q..8;0
."'Q ~ ",_It:

~
Q)
~
Q
0

.Q

Q)

'"
=
'"

S

0

:=
'"
Q)

..c

~
~

~
M

0
0

~
~

0

0
0

<X>

l/)

~
~

'?;

~

.-4

00
00

z

~

rncn

UU
rI)

~<:
I

~~

<:lit) I

~

~

~~
0

0

~

u
-C/}

~
cn

I

~

~

~ ~

-<
I

-4

~

~

~
0

~

c:7)

U
--

~

I

lC

cn

M

'=>
'=>

0
0

9;

~

.D~
0, 1 5":';..Qa
0,
":';Q)U
~'6
.D 5 C.I
tn.D
~
..Q
...Q~tn
~ --.~ ~ ~.D Q "0 .,:.;:= .~ .~ g ~ .~
-<

~Q~~~"';C'~"OU~~~~

"""'OC.I"'.'

.""0'"

Q»=,

~

=>-

Q)'

'"~VCJ
-.:
'" ...::
~
cn

'"'

..

..8
cU
Q)

-;>

cUcU

J:.,",Q)

o~

Q)Q)

;S,",.Q)
-'=8'"'

.:t;-Q) '"
~
.:=..
Q) '"

;>0,'"'
Q)Q)

~

c-""'Q)0,.
.,:;="'~
..=
'"' ;>..~ I

8=~
~...~~'"

°cUcU

~_cU_cU
~~
~
Q)
8 ~ 8

8..~ i:S '" "0",~-.
cU~
cU
Q) = ~ '"

~"O

~~6
-.~
cU""'-

Q)~
'"'

'"
'"
0,..=.
§

cU~~"""'=
"O...~
-'Q)""'- ~'"
~-c; ;>=o.~

~cU""'cU"" ~i:S
~ J:. '"

~=8:E.°cU
.~
= Q)..." ~

~"'.'==

~o,~

cU

..8"0
cU=

..ccU~:s

QiO;>Cj
.-"D

'"=

"0",
OJ
>

CJ
OJ

:0
::g
OJ

'"

CJ
'"
=

~
...;>o_~~Q)
~~~~-~

-I

c

0

~

::
~

0

~

0)

<?;

0
0

co

0-

:I
C.I
C.I

0

.~

CJ

<?:

0)

0

M
lC

S
'"

0

<:7)

~

~

I

~

cn

-u

0
0

~
co
0)

~

cIS

(.I

..r:.

cIS

..c

0

t

V)

~

'?:

~~

.Q,.

~

~

~
I

:3'

~

'='
'='

.-t

~~~(X)

Q)

c:7)

~
~

~

I

-.
~

0

~

<:>
<:>

0

.-t

~

to
~
~

<:.
<:.

0
CO

9:

0)
.-4

0
0

~

~
~

0

0)
If)
0)

0
0

~

.-t

0
0

~

~

~

~

0)
.-4

~

~

.-4

0)

"f'

~
"1'

~

;.-

~

<:7)

Q

0

~
~

-<
~

I

~

tU

Q

~

c.
Q)
00

A..

~

<0

Q)

0

-.

I

3'

bC

~

~
0

0)

~

~
~

<

~

~

~

~

I

-

~

z

~

0

0
= '" ~

0

.,
=

.c
bD~S
~~.c
QJ
...
~

"0
..s::
~
=
='

~

~
..c
Q

..

~cu

Q)

Q

~

cn

=
§

'"

.~

~

I I

a.~
:.=
0"
~~ <
-

~~
oj
."
~~
~"

~;';2

,.

".
-~
2 >

.'

~ ~

c~

=a

~

~

I

~

.=
=

~

0

&. g ~
-=

~
'0

'"

-=
~

.I

~

1

2-

'<3~
.~'<

~
..3

:C/)

r

.0

;I'-.

.0

~
;.:..

c.J

(,.j

~

0

~

ia.
..0
.=
-..

C'"

~~ '0
=

C/)

..

~

(b
~
...(b
'"
2;

~

,

'"
~
3

('1
C/)

~ 's. ~ ~.o'

-C/)
~
...~
~ S' S'"
0 < '(;

~~~
t,:)~ ~,=,

0..
~
0..
~

~ ~ C/)6
=' ~ ('1 ~

",..~
'
g. C/) 0.. a. ~
"" --3
=,"".
.0
~ > ()

"'~

~
"'

~

~

~
-,'"

o~

..e.

..

~

-t')~
>

t,:) '<
tJ1 ~

~

~

~

'-:-'

~

?.

-=
ro
=
~

C')§.

'-

Q1

~
~
~

0

..~
0

...:;.

~

'

::-=""C(')~

n~3~
~ '"

C/)

~

g

'.."",
g:. ~
...":"'~

I. 1'0
~
S'";
='

-"
0.. "".
~ 0"
~ ()

~~'<~
;~..~~
,o..~ o..~

~
'<

~

Q
.,
@
~

=' ~ ~
0 aQ '"I..=,

:;. ='
~
0..;
3"

~"'~()
='~=':;.
,~"

~
'"
0..
0

i

'"

O'-"".()~~()"tJ1"()O-O:~()
~
5
()
~
()
-~

-'."'

>
-o.-TC1>,

~

C/).~o,"!"
(')~=-

,"",,~C1>aq

C/)
'"7
~

= ",0.-=.0=
0 ~ ~

c:
C/)

~

S. ~

~
>

g
~

~

~
~...
~ 3 :
-~
0

0..='0"~
~~~~~~
0..0..", ';'""

;-" ~
='

1.1

C/)

'"

()
~

~~
~~
..,

'.::
aQ ,.
~ 3
~ ~

~ g.
0.. '"
= ~

0"""
=' ~
":'"
o()
~
3
=. ~
..."

"""'.

='
()

,,<

~
0..

cr':::,
~~

o~
...~

.=-

0".
"'.0

~ rjq.

o' = =
~ ~-<C1>
~ ~

C1>
"'0
' ...
< =cr'
C1>~
...(') 0

~""'=cr'

~..~

~

<='(7:"'...3'"0
~~

C/)
=-

=' =--.§ ; ~ 0..;co.. () ~ ~
g.~.

~

~

~

.=
'N

Q)

~~.
=
3

0'0
on

-<~"'::-~~~~'i
:-+ C1>
0 (') '"
C1>
'"

~~""'.~C1>""'.'<'

~
CO

0
c,.,
i;:)
0

n
:=-

o~~
"~"'=O~=-~~=~ ~ '"""C1>~=~~

~-aQ
~ 1J; =-- aQ ~
='=,

",""."""".';:~'"

()
~

C/)

3 "'~'-

~~

$3

0 '"

3.'":"

--aq
CJ:J'"

...Q..~

~
;.

cn

~cn~cn~

c::

cnQ..~'"
:J'"
< 0
=' ~ ...
~~-O"
~ ~
o
""'~

"'~O)i
'<
=,.' '"

oo>~
~< '"=' I ~
,

~..
~ ~~.
=,'O~-..().o;~
~ ~

...

~='

'g9,.

...(")

~CJ)

CJ1

"6

Q)

~

0

~
~

0

CO
0)

CO

~
~

t.:)

CO

0
-(

z

(&)

C/)

n

CJl

I

~
>-

to

~

0

3 ."!
~ ",...
~. =. 0 ~ ~
~. =' ~ ::':.9",,"
a. g. ~
'0 C/) ~ <" = CH3 ~ .c '"
C/)~ :<: 3 '" ~
~. ~ 3 ~ '< =-- =:... ~ @
"" ~
~ ~

~
0

1J;'0 ~

~

~

~

~

"%j

0"

(II

~
'<

~

00'

'"=-0-

;.=' ~

:C/)

~-...n

0)

I

~
>

~

C1~

~

;

o~

.cn

>--~
Cl

~

I

~
>

~=:~~

()~--~~()o=-()
='
('1
~
aQ

C/)

O'~
...'"

'C
'-+(b

~
~

(b"':'"

I

..,. -1:r-

Cf) =.aq
r~

~~~
<=:o' > =:I

'C...
..'"
.-+
,
=:-9'&.&

Cf)~~O

'<roO)'"

(b =

-< ';t >.0
I ~
'"

Cf)

~..
~'<
-"'.
§' g g 0.. ~ '" 3 ~ N. () 2'"
3""~~..":"'=--=:'0.."".0_~~g,2"'.":'"

~."""""",'"I

...

F~
'-

(0

~

g.~

-o~;:,.~
"0 ~ (b ~

~~~=~()~~"'~~"C/)~()~~""~"~O'"~""~~~~""~()~~~
~
()o,...""
=:. ~
'"
iIG.
()
<
~
~
~
~
-'
-~
~
~
C"
.~
-"""
L_-

aq
(0

~
$=~
~
'"
3-~
°

~3~3~
(0. ...~ -

C/)
C/)",(O

(0'-'

=~-

~ °

':t
~

'" t') ~
n'O
~ '" ",'"

C::~t')oo

'OC/)

~ -<

(0

-~

V)~

~

;..:..

Vj

;..:..

(.C)

<=>

~

~
to
0)

~

~
tI1
~
co

0
~

~
'<

-'!

as,;;
~

'(1)
c;i-C")

~

I

~
>-

~

'- !:")

0

~

=-0

~~

~ 0

~--

co

I

~
>-

~ :3. 0. g ~

"C8"'o«O

-<'O~e..g.

~

~
-(O~""'(I)~

s
2

~.

..:;
-'"

I

;.:

..~
~ ~

..,

-2-

..,.
.~

.0-

i

'0

6
~

=

~.0

.,

3

~

::

~
--~

=

..::0"
0

0
~

~ E ~
<
~.
."
, , .~

a:

I
0

~ '"'
'" .=
~
'" ~

~.Q. > ""

?

"a ,,~
~;;
~
..~ co-

0 -..~
.."~
,; =
Q.;
-~"
~
!!.~
-0
<

[:I.

.-;I>
.~

~ -I'

.5

~.o

~~ ~~

-'"
~.
.-.I

~~
~;..

~~ [~

j S!:
';(1

.~

- ,,
[=' ~::

=

'1-

;;~ ,,~.
.~

~-8' ~r-~ -~
.-,,- ="=
-"

-r=-

a"..~

-=
>~

-I

~

-

0
-~

Ii
~'"
.'"

",~..

()

C/)

~
'"

3
~

'"
~

.':to

o~o
<='=,
,0..,

"" ('1
I. 1
..8"
S.
~ -()

aQ
~o.."'"
~ ()
..C/) 6
C/)--S.

qg

~

cn

>-

~
~

?5

=~

~

a

='

3
~

[

~
'.::

~

~
I

'" -

~:"

~
'"

'0~

;0;
,="

=-~
~;:;~ =--

'"

()
~

C/)

I
Vj

~

8~
('J
~
~
~
~a~2.t""'~

C/)

~
='

~

c;>

...
...

~
'"

=

~

t")

3
~
...
~.

>

~ ...

i~
t") ~

= ="'::'"

"'",
~. '"

~~

"",

t

~

Ib

'-.

0

(b

~~
.=
..~

<

Ib
0..

..Ib

3

..("J

Ib
~...J-. ~
...~_.

Ib 0

("J

0 =
==

°'C~
'C
...

3

Ib ...~

~"'Olb
~ .":'"

~O'-3

(
,. :

~

o~

~~t

--.

~

I

"' =t :

8

~

-("J
'" Ib~.
~
~;!j
=
:-~°9.

("J
""'
Ib 1../

=C/)~a'
("J --'"

C/)

, 0
N>~
~ ...I

= ~
~ t")
~ ~

~
~

..~

~ ~
='~
0.. =

5.~
.§~~~I~~n
0
_ ~ -=...

~'"

C/) ~
C/)8
-~

..~
~1.1~
~
;
..0
0
='
~

C/)"

'O...'O-.:
..~

.

~

s'
=

VJ

~

CO

~

0

0
0

~

~
co
~

C/)~;'~",=,o",o:
-~""""'!8 ~""'"0'

'<""""""~'<~I.J'"

C/)

0..

~
...

'C

C/)

~

>

~
='

CIt

i;:)

CIt

<=>

0
0

~

0)

co

~

~
CI\

t-:>

>-

~

C/)

n

I
~

~
>-

CX)

C ..c--~
'"
C/) ('J =:I~CJ1'O

~

~.

--~~

C/)-

'<~

~C/)

3

0

~o

'"

..
'"

G")

ac.
~o

=;0

<

t,:J

~

(;11

~

~

0
0

~
~

CJ1

~

~
-.t

C11

~

~I

~ ~>
~
'<

0
0

~

0)

~
co

t.:)

~

E.

3
~

~
0

~ ~

:~

'%1-...n

t,j

I

~
~

-~=-~"
8 = "'~~~=:
>~C">~~ '" ~o C"~~o=(b'
-00-0
8,
<
I'
~a~'8='..~
~C/)i'
..~
"I =' ~ g:'
~~
~ '"

-t

=

~
~

:(.1)

t""'-n

""'"

I

~
~

~
0.. ~ @ ~
='~.":'"
0.. ~ '0
"'0..;
S'
3
~ C/) ~

<
~

=--

~

~

~

~

a-

0

~~
>tp

=

s~

a-

~

=

3"

(/)

0

~

~
CO

0

~

0)

co

~

~

~

"'~,.
(;'" ~ ~
"'~.":"'.
~ 3 0
'O()'O
;
~ g
='

~

~"""-'.~'"

C/)

'0

~

>

CXJ

"(5

C/)

~

I

~
>

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful