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Project Mercury Overview

An Introduction to Project Mercury Missions

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The Mercury Project consisted of several unmanned missions as well as a number of manned missions.

Unmanned Missions

Manned Missions

  • Mercury-Redstone 3
    FREEDOM 7

    May 5, 1961
    Alan B. Shepard, Jr.
    15 minutes, 28 seconds
    Suborbital flight that successfully put the first American in space.
  • Mercury-Redstone 4
    LIBERTY BELL 7

    July 21, 1961
    Virgil I. Grissom
    15 minutes, 37 seconds
    Also suborbital; successful flight but the spacecraft sank shortly after splashdown.
  • Mercury-Atlas 6
    FRIENDSHIP 7

    February 20, 1962
    John H. Glenn, Jr.
    04 hours, 55 minutes 23 seconds
    Three-orbit flight that placed the first American into orbit.
  • Mercury-Atlas 7
    AURORA 7

    May 24, 1962
    M. Scott Carpenter
    04 hours, 56 minutes, 5 seconds
    Confirmed the success of Mercury-Atlas 6 by duplicating flight.
  • Mercury-Atlas 8
    SIGMA 7

    October 03, 1962
    Walter M. Schirra, Jr.
    09 hours, 13 minutes, 11 seconds
    Six-orbit engineering test flight.
  • Mercury-Atlas 9
    FAITH 7

    May 15-16, 1963
    L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.
    34 hours, 19 minutes, 49 seconds
    Last Mercury mission; completed 22 orbits to evaluate effects of one day in space.
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