Project Mercury

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Post by meodingu on Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:07 pm

Project Mercury

May 5, 1961 launch of Redstone rocket and Freedom 7 with Alan Shepard on first US manned sub-orbital spaceflight
Main article: Project Mercury

Conducted under the pressure of the competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that existed during the Cold War, Project Mercury was initiated in 1958 and started NASA down the path of human space exploration with missions designed to discover if man could survive in space. Representatives from the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force were selected to provide assistance to NASA. Pilot selections were facilitated through coordination with U.S. defense research, contracting, and military test pilot programs. On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space when he piloted Freedom 7 on a 15-minute suborbital flight.[16] John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962 during the flight of Friendship 7.[17] Three more orbital flights followed.

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