Project Mercury was America's entry into the manned spaceflight program. When the program began in 1958, the Soviet Union was far ahead of the US in the race for supremacy in space. With immense effort, and in record time, NASA, the newly created spaceflight organization, developed a space transport system with orbital capsule and booster rockets. They used it to send Alan Shepard on a first suborbital "jump" into space in May 1961, and in February 1962 to make John Glenn the first American astronaut to orbit the earth. Nevertheless, the Americans were beaten by the Soviets in the race to put the first man into space. Project Mercury was, however, the foundation for NASA's later success in the race to the moon. All Project Mercury missions are discussed, including details on all craft and the astronauts involved. Superb color, archival images, cutaways and plans are also included.
On October 4, 1957 at 10:28 Moscow time, a rocket carrying the world's first orbiting satellite roared into space, signaling a new era in human history and the beginning of the so-called space race - an epic rivalry pitting the technological know-how of the Soviet Union against that of the United States. Despite some highly publicized failures, the USA managed to answer the Russians with the successful launch of Explorer 1 in January of 1958. The next major milestone would be to put a human into orbit, a goal that defined the USA's Project Mercury. After a long series of test launches including a sub-orbital flight with the chimp Ham on board, Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space. On May 5, 1961 Shepard rode a Redstone rocket into space for a sub-orbital flight that lasted under 16 minutes. Nine months later, John Glenn's Friendship 7 capsule was launched into space atop an Atlas booster, and Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. Glenn remained in space for nearly five hours and circled the planet three times. While these flights represented enormous achievements neither was an outright space race victory: cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's orbital flight of April 12, 1961 earned him the title of first man in space, and first man to orbit the Earth. Designed by brilliant engineer Max Faget and a team at NASA, the Mercury space capsule represented an entirely new class of vehicle. Just large enough for a single astronaut, the joke about the cramped capsule was that it was worn, not ridden. Despite reports otherwise, the capsule could be and was flown by astronauts who had attitude control thrusters at their disposal and a window for viewing. The capsule also boasted manual re-entry controls. Created by NASA and contractor McDonnell Aircraft, this Familiarization Manual explains all the systems aboard the Mercury space capsule including cabin controls, environmental and stabilization controls and systems, launch and re-entry sequence procedures, and navigation and communications equipment and procedures. Dating from June of 1962, it represents a late revision of documents created at the beginning of the Mercury program. Originally restricted, this manual has been declassified and is presented in its entirety, running nearly 400 pages.
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Release Date: 2017-01-02
1943 stellt das Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory der NACA,die später zur NASA wird, erstmalig afroamerikanische Frauen ein. "Menschliche Rechner" - unter ihnen Dorothy Vaughan, die 1953 Vorgesetzte der brillanten afroamerikanischen Mathematikerin Katherine Johnson wird. Trotz Diskriminierung und Vorurteilen, treiben sie die Forschungen der NASA voran und Katherine Johnsons Berechnungen werden maßgeblich für den Erfolg der Apollo-Missionen. Dies ist ihre Geschichte. "Mit dieser unglaublich mitreißenden und vielschichtigen Erzählung zeigt Shetterly ihr Können. Die Geschichte begeistert in allen Aspekten." Booklist
Author: Colin Burgess
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2011-08-17
The names of the seven Mercury astronauts were announced in April 1959 amid a flurry of publicity and patriotism. This work provides biographical details of all thirty-two finalists for the seven coveted places as America's pioneering astronauts. All of the candidates were among the nation's elite pilots involved in testing new supersonic aircraft capabilities. Most had served as wartime fighter and bomber pilots; some were test pilots on top secret and sophisticated aviation projects, while others were fleet admirals, prisoners of war, and proposed pilots for spaceflight programs such as the Dyna-Soar (X-20). The names of all 32 finalists have been kept secret until very recently. "Selecting the Mercury Seven" also relates the history and difficulties behind the initial choice of candidates. The lives, motivations, military careers, and achievements of the unsuccessful twenty-five finalists are explored first in fully authorized biographies. Test pilots for the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, each man has a fascinating and very different story to tell. All thirty-two men had to endure meticulous, demeaning, and brutal week-long medical examinations at the Lovelace Clinic in New Mexico. This was followed by another torturous week at the Wright Aeromedical Laboratory in Ohio, where they were subjected to extreme fitness and physiological testing, the sole purpose of which was to sort out the Supermen from the near-supermen. The final part of the book examines the accomplishments and spaceflights of the seven successful candidates, bringing their amazing stories right up to date.
Author: John Bisney
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
Release Date: 2016-04-25
The race to space between the United States and the Soviet Union captured the popular imagination. On April 12, 1961, the USSR launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on a one-orbit flight, making him the first human in space. Three weeks later, American astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. flew 116 miles above Earth before splashing down in the Bahamas. Over the next twenty years astronauts emerged as national heroes. This book tells the story of the people and events of Projects Mercury and Gemini with hundreds of unpublished and rare photographs—both color and black-and-white. Unlike other publications, which illustrate the space race with well-known and easily accessible images, this history draws from the authors’ private library of over one hundred thousand (and growing) high-quality photos of the early US manned space program. Collected over a lifetime from public and private sources—including NASA archives, fellow collectors, retired NASA and news photographers, and auction houses—the images document American space missions of the Cold War era more comprehensively than ever before. Devoting a chapter to each flight, the authors also include detailed descriptions, providing new insight into one of America’s greatest triumphs.
Author: Gene Kranz
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2001-02-21
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
This memoir of a veteran NASA flight director tells riveting stories from the early days of the Mercury program through Apollo 11 (the moon landing) and Apollo 13, for both of which Kranz was flight director. Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America’s manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA’s Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race. He helped to launch Alan Shepard and John Glenn, then assumed the flight director’s role in the Gemini program, which he guided to fruition. With his teammates, he accepted the challenge to carry out President John F. Kennedy’s commitment to land a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s. Kranz recounts these thrilling historic events and offers new information about the famous flights. What appeared as nearly flawless missions to the Moon were, in fact, a series of hair-raising near misses. When the space technology failed, as it sometimes did, the controllers’ only recourse was to rely on their skills and those of their teammates. He reveals behind-the-scenes details to demonstrate the leadership, discipline, trust, and teamwork that made the space program a success. A fascinating firsthand account by a veteran mission controller of one of America’s greatest achievements, Failure is Not an Option reflects on what has happened to the space program and offers his own bold suggestions about what we ought to be doing in space now.
Author: Bryan Ethier
Publisher: McGregor Hill Pub
Release Date: 1999
Fly Me to the Moon transports you to who your were when America took its first steps into space; the night you sat transfixed to the television as the crew of Apollo XI landed on the moon; the day you resolved to one day become an astronaut. Perhaps you were the 10-year-old kid who transformed a plain refrigerator box into a Mercury space capsule; or the resident of a small Texas community lighting celebratory Christmas Eve candles for your neighbors, the crew of Apollo VIII, or the musician saved from the ravages of drugs by one woman's historic voyage to the stars. For every Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle voyage into outer space, there is an accompanying story. For every mission, there is the story of a starry-eyed child transformed into Alan Shepard, John Glenn, or Neil Armstrong. For every astronaut who braved weightlessness, the unknown, the perils of space flight, there is a grown up child wishing he or she could do the same. You'll remember you own youthful dreams during a bygone time in America when space flight bewitched us all and changed a generation.
Author: Loyd S. Swenson
Publisher: Red & Black Pub
Release Date: 2010-04
NASA's official history of Project Mercury, America's effort to get a man into space. Covers the development of the rocket boosters, the selection and training of the astronauts, the design of the Mercury spacecraft, the test launches, and all six manned Mercury flights, including Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and John Glenn, the first American in orbit.
Author: Matthew H. Hersch
Release Date: 2012-10-08
Who were the men who led America's first expeditions into space? Soldiers? Daredevils? The public sometimes imagined them that way: heroic military men and hot-shot pilots without the capacity for doubt, fear, or worry. However, early astronauts were hard-working and determined professionals - 'organization men' - who were calm, calculating, and highly attuned to the politics and celebrity of the Space Race. Many would have been at home in corporate America - and until the first rockets carried humans into space, some seemed to be headed there. Instead, they strapped themselves to missiles and blasted skyward, returning with a smile and an inspiring word for the press. From the early days of Project Mercury to the last moon landing, this lively history demystifies the American astronaut while revealing the warring personalities, raw ambition, and complex motives of the men who were the public face of the space program.
Author: Robert Silverberg
Publisher: Wildside Press LLC
Release Date: 2008-04-01
Here is the spine-tingling, true story of that first American blast into the realm of the stars, of the men who underwent rigorous training for that epic mission, and of the one man who made the safe journey. This is the factual account of the history of rocketry, its triumphs and its failures, our shame in the neglect of it, and our pride in its later accomplishments. Here, too, is a glimpse into the future, as only science fiction writer Robert Silverberg could foresee: orbiting space stations, a man on the moon, and more!
Author: Scott M. Carpenter
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 2010-01-12
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
The heroic story of the Mercury Seven, the pioneer astronauts who risked their lives for America’s first manned space voyages. Project Mercury ran from 1959 through 1963, put the first American in space, and defined NASA’s manned space flights to come, from Gemini through Apollo. In We Seven, first published in 1962, the astronauts including Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Virgil Grissom, Walter Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Donald Slayton—take you behind the scenes of this pioneering program—even into the space capsules themselves. Featuring fascinating firsthand accounts and black-and-white photographs throughout—the astronauts describe the exhilarating launches, hair-raising challenges, and incredible successes of Project Mercury—from breaking through the earth’s atmosphere to panicking when a hatch blows. But Project Mercury was more than the heroism of individual missions. In We Seven, America’s original astronauts share with us—as only they can—the hopes and dreams of the US at the dawn of a new era.