10 Exciting Facts about Project Mercury

Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. enters his Mercury capsule, "Friendship 7" as he prepares for launch of the Mercury-Atlas rocket.

Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. enters his Mercury capsule, “Friendship 7″ as he prepares for launch of the Mercury-Atlas rocket.

Project Mercury was the first American space program put in place by NASA to have a man orbit into space. In total there were 7 orbits into space during the course of this program. Here are some exciting facts you need to know about Project Mercury.

1. Plans For the Future
The primary reason for this project was to orbit in space, but there was another reason for this project. NASA wanted to test a human abilities in space and also retrieve the crew and the spacecraft in a safe manner. This would pave the foundation for future flights into space.

2. The Start of Many
Project Mercury was the first of many projects for NASA. This project was so important to NASA because they were able to study and determine what needed to happen in future flights.

3. Named After a God
Project Mercury took its name from a Roman God who was known for his speed.

4. Solo Flights
The spacecrafts in Project Mercury were only large enough to launch one man.

5. Launched without an Astronaut
This project included 20 unmanned launches into space. This was near the beginning of NASA and not all of the flights were successful. All the flights during this project were necessary for the growth of NASA. Each time they launched a spacecraft into space they learned new things that need to be done before the next launch.

6. A Monkey In Space
On the fifth flight with Project mercury NASA launched a monkey in space. It was the fifth flight for the project the monkeys name was Sam but he was not the only monkey to make it into space. Miss Sam, Ham, and Enos all made their appearance in space during this project.

7. Only 6 Astronauts
During the 4 year (1959-1963) span of this project there were only  6 manned flights that made an orbit in space.

8. A Cancelled Flight
There was a 7th flight scheduled but it was cancelled due to health reasons of the astronaut who was scheduled to make the launch.

9. America’s Dream
America had hoped to be the first country to orbit space but the Soviet Union beat them by three weeks. Yuri Gagarin was the first person to orbit and Alan Shepard was the first American to orbit.

10. More Windows!
Early versions of Mercury had only two small windows for looking out into space. The astronaut who were in the project asked for a larger window because they wanted to be able to view more and for location purposes.

Project Mercury was the first of many programs for NASA. It was the foundation that helped NASA define what protocol needed to be met before launching into space. It was a very important project for the space program.


Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "10 Exciting Facts about Project Mercury." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 20 Nov. 2013. Web. 23 Jul. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/go/1841/10-exciting-facts-about-project-mercury-2/ >.

Learn more with these Project Mercury websites.



Project Mercury Familiarization Manual Manned Satellite Capsule
Project Mercury Familiarization Manual Manned Satellite Capsule
by NASA
(Paperback)
- Usually ships in 24 hours
Price: $23.29

Project Mercury: NASA s First Manned Space Programme (Springer Praxis Books Space Exploration)
Project Mercury: NASA's First Manned Space Programme (Springer Praxis Books /...
by John Catchpole
(Hardcover)
- Usually ships in 2 to 4 weeks
Price: $65.00

This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury (Annotated and Illustrated)
This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury (Annotated and Illustrated)
by James M. Grimwood, Charles C. Alexander, Loyd S. Swenson Jr
(Kindle Edition)