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Mercury program

The Mercury program was a manned spaceflight program undertaken by the United States of America, conducted during the years (1959-1963). It was devoted to the goal of putting a man in orbit around the Earth. It was followed by the Gemini and Apollo programs.

Mercury spacecraft were one-man spacecraft. They were very cramped; it was said that the Mercury spacecraft were not ridden, they were worn.

The program included 20 unmanned launches. Not all of these were intended to reach space and not all were successful in their objectives. The fifth flight in 1959 launched a monkey named Sam into space. Other space-farers were Miss Sam the monkey and Ham and Enos, both chimpanzees.

The name Mercury comes from the Roman god (it is also the name of the innermost planet of the solar system).

Six manned flights took place under the Mercury program:

A seventh flight was cancelled when astronaut Deke Slayton[?] was disqualified for medical reasons. The on June 12, 1963 NASA Administrator James Webb[?] told Congress the program was complete.

Further reading

  • Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff. Sentimental, from the astronaut viewpoint, not meant to be taken as a strict history, but fascinating anyway.

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