Mercury Program

The First Human flight program in the United States of America


  • First Human flight Program in the United States
  • Primary goal was to put human in Earth orbit and return him safely
  • Period: 1958-1963 – During the time of President Eisenhower
  • Cost: $277 million (Present day value $ 2 Billion in value )
  • Astronauts called as Mercury 7; Each Capsule’s named ended in ‘7’   •Rockets •Redstone – suborbital – Mercury-Redstone 3, Mercury-Redstone 4 (2 Missions) •Atlas – Mercury-Atlas5, Mercury-Atlas6, Mercury-Atlas7, Mercury-Atlas8 (4 Missions)
  • 6 Manned Missions; 20 Unmanned Missions


 Space capsules produced by McDonnell Aircraft Company

Launch Vehicles:

Redstone : made by Chrysler for US Army – Used for sub-orbital flights

Atlas : made by Convair/General Dynamics – Used for orbital flights

Control Station: Cape Canaveral

Launch Escape Systems (LES): made by Grand Central Rocket Company, Redlands, CA

Why Was Project Mercury Important?

NASA learned a lot from Project Mercury. NASA learned how to put people in orbit. It learned how people

could live and work in space. NASA learned how to fly a spacecraft. These lessons were very important.

NASA used them in later space projects.

After Mercury which carried one astronaut, came the Gemini program. The Gemini spacecraft had room for two astronauts. NASA learned even more with Gemini. Together, Mercury and Gemini prepared NASA for the Apollo program.




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