Mission Facts Mission: LIBERTY BELL 7Launch Pad: LC-5Vehicle: Redstone (6)Crew: Virgil I. GrissomBackup Crew: John H. Glenn, Jr.Payload: Spacecraft No. 11, Launch Vehicle MR-8 Milestones March 7, 1961: Spacecraft delivered to Hangar…
“Mercury 13,” a team of 13 women who shared a dream – to be America’s first women pioneers in space.
Project Mercury Overview
Initiated in 1958, completed in 1963, Project Mercury was the United States' first man-in-space program. The objectives of the program, which made six manned flights from 1961 to 1963, were specific.
Objectives and Guidelines
The objectives of the Mercury Project, as stated at the time of project go-ahead, were as follows: 1. Place a manned spacecraft in orbital flight around the earth. 2. Investigate man's performance capabilities and his ability to function in the environment of space. 3. Recover the man and the spacecraft safely.
Overview – Astronaut Selection
Now that men had been chosen to serve as the focal points for all this effort, new spirits animated the Space Task Group. Indeed, the Nation as a whole began to participate vicariously in Project Mercury when, on April 9, 1959, at a press conference the public met the seven men chosen to be this Nation’s nominees for the first human voyagers into space.
Overview – Summary
The United States' first manned space flight project was successfully accomplished in a 5 year period of dynamic activity which saw more than 2,000,000 people from many major government agencies and much of the aerospace industry combine their skills, initiative, and experience into a national effort.
There were 20 unmanned Project Mercury missions in all. Learn more about them.
The Mercury Redstone Launch Vehicle
Mercury-Redstone was the first crewed launch vehicle in the United States space program. Learn about how it was developed.
Mercury 7 History Resources
Biographies of the Mercury 7 astronauts, documents, and a bibliography for further reading are presented in this collection of resources prepared for the fortieth anniversary of the selection of the Mercury 7.
How 11 Deaf Men Helped Shape NASA’s Human Spaceflight Program
Before NASA could send humans to space, the agency needed to better understand the effects of prolonged weightlessness on the human body. So, in the late 1950s, NASA and the U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine established a joint research program to study these effects and recruited 11 deaf men aged 25-48 from Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University). Today, these men are known to history as the “Gallaudet Eleven.”
Learn more about the NASA and U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine joint research program that became known as the Gallaudet Eleven by reading an oral history interview with two of the participants, Harry Larson and David Myers.
What Was Project Mercury?
For Students in Grades K-4
NASA chose seven astronauts for Project Mercury in 1959. It was one of the first things NASA did. NASA was only six months old. Alan Shepard made the first Mercury flight. He was the first American in space. He named his spacecraft Freedom 7. The 15-minute flight went into space and came back down. Shepard later walked on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission.
Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 capsule was launched on a Redstone rocket.
What Was Project Mercury?
For Students in Grades 5-8
Project Mercury was the NASA program that put the first American astronauts in space. Astronauts made a total of six spaceflights during Project Mercury. Two of those flights reached space and came right back down. These are called suborbital flights. The other four went into orbit and circled Earth. The first of those six flights was made in 1961. The last flight was made in 1963.