The Mercury Project

The Mercury Project was Americas first manned space program. The capsule was small and the flights were short, but the historical importance of this program can’t be denied.

On May 5, 1961 Alan B. Shepard was launched on a sub-orbital flight that lasted a little over fifteen minutes. He was Americas first man in space.

By the end of 1963 all but one of the original seven astronauts had been launched into space. The Mercury program ended successfully, although the United States was still behind in the space race with Russia.

Main Objectives

  • Send a man into orbit around the Earth
  • Study the effects of being in space
  • Return safely to Earth

Mission Assignments

  • Mercury-Redstone 3 “Freedom 7”
    May 5, 1961
    Alan Shepard
  • Mercury-Atlas 6 “Friendship 7”
    February 20, 1962
    John Glenn
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