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Group picture of Mercury 7 astronauts standing in their silver spacesuits and helmets

Project Mercury

We are driven to explore the unknown, discover new worlds, push the boundaries of our scientific and technical limits, and then push further.



Manned Missions


Years (1958-1963)

The Mercury Seven

Portrait of M. Scott Carpenter.

Mercury-Atlas 7 astronaut

Portrait of L. Gordon Cooper, former astronaut

Mercury-Atlas 9 and Gemini V astronaut

John Glenn, Mercury Astronaut

Mercury-Atlas 6 and STS-95 astronaut

Mercury-Redstone 4, Gemini III and Apollo 1 astronaut

Portrait of Walter M. Schirra

Mercury-Atlas 8, Gemini VI-A and Apollo 7 astronaut

Mercury-Redstone 3 and Apollo 14 astronaut

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project astronaut

Featured Story

In the Beginning: Project Mercury

In October 1958, just six days after NASA formally organized, America’s first human spaceflight program was born. Project Mercury’s manned…

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For Students

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.

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Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 capsule was launched on a Redstone rocket.
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