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Project Years: The Mercury Program operated from 1959 to 1965.
Primary Mission Objective: Put a human into orbit
Secondary Mission Objectives: Test human ability to perform in space, recover the crew and spacecraft safely
Goal Achieved: April, 20 1962 (Mercury 6)
Name Origin: Mercury – Roman mythological God, famous for his speed
Program Cost: 384 million dollars – equivalent to 2.7 billion (2007)
Spacecraft Crew: one pilot
Spacecraft Designed By: Max Faget and other ex-German rocket engineers
Spacecraft Dimensions: Height 11.51ft (3.51 meter), Diameter 6.2 ft (1.89m), Volume 60 cubic feet (1.7 cubic meters)
Spacecraft Weight: Launch 4265 lb (1935kg) Orbit 2986lb (1354kg) Landing 2421 lb (1098kg) – data for first orbital flight, Mercury-Atlas 6
Spacecraft: max time in space – 34 hours
Spacecraft Orbital Apogee: 175 miles (282 km)
Spacecraft Orbital Perigee: 100 miles (160 km)
Boosters: Little Joe (testing), Redstone (suborbital flights), Atlas (orbital flights)
Total Spacecraft Produced: 20, by McDonnel Aircraft company
Robotic Flights: 20
Other Unmanned Flights: 4 (2 macaque – Sam, Miss Sam, 2 chimpanzee – Ham Enos)
First Unmanned Flight: December 4, 1959
First Unmanned Flight Duration: 11 minutes, 6 seconds
First Unmanned Flight Crew: Sam the monkey
Manned Flights: 6
First Manned Flight (Sub-orbital): May 5,1961
First Manned Flight Duration: 15 minutes 28 seconds
First Manned Flight Mission: Mercury-Restone 3
First Manned Flight Callsign: Freedom 7
First Manned Flight Crew: Alan Barlett Shepard, Jr. – first American in Space
First Orbital Flight: February 20, 1962
First Orbital Flight Duration: 4 hours, 55 minutes 23seconds
First Orbital Flight Mission: Mercury-Atlas 6
First Orbital Flight Callsign: Friendship 7
First Orbital Flight Crew: John Herschek Glenn, Jr.. – first American to reach orbit
Last Flight: May 15, 1963
Last Flight Duration: 1 day 10 hours 19 minutes 49 seconds
Last Flight Mission: Mercury-Atlas 9
Last Flight Callsign: Faith 7
Last Flight Crew: Leroy Gordon “Gordo" Cooper, Jr. – first Amecrican to stay in orbit over a day. Last American to orbit the Earth alone.
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The Mercury program was the first major task the newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration - NASA took on.
The “Astro" knife was designed for and by Mercury astronauts by Randall knife company.
The last 3 Mercury missions (Mercury-Atlas 10,11,12) were cancelled for various reasons.