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Project Mercury - Research Paper Example

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The implementation of a national space flight program called Project Mercury started in October 7, 1958 after extensive tests and studies conducted by the government as well as private aerospace industry (Centennial of flight). The projected life for the project was 4 years and 8 months…
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Project Mercury
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Download file to see previous pages During the period the project was active 25 space flights were completed where six of the missions were manned flights. Those six manned flights were completed with an excellent pilot safety record and with no deviation from the Mercury program basic operating parameters (Nasa). The Mercury project outlined a series of operational objectives to be completed: 1. To launch a manned space flight mission in orbit around the earth. 2. To investigate and analyze man’s capabilities and ability to function in a zero g space environment. 3. To safely land the spacecraft and recover the pilot successfully. After establishing the primary objectives, certain guidelines were put in place in order to guarantee the most efficient and safest approach to completing the mission objectives. The guidelines established were as follows: 1. Existing off the shelf the shelf technology must be used whenever possible. 2. General system design should follow a philosophy of safety and simplicity. 3. A current launch vehicle platform will be utilized to safely place the spacecraft in orbit. Mission Launch date Duration Objectives Little Joe 1 21 Aug 1959 20 seconds Test of launch escape systems Big Joe 1 9 Sept 1959 13 minutes Test heat shield and Atlas/spacecraft Interface Little Joe 6 4 Oct 1959 5m, 10 sec Testing of spacecraft aerodynamics and physical integrity during flight Little Joe 1A 4 Nov 1959 8m, 11 sec Second test of launch escape systems Little Joe 2 4 Dec 1959 11m, 8sec Carried Sam, a live monkey to an altitude of 85 km. Little Joe 1B 21 Jan 1960 8m, 35sec Carried Sam, the monkey to an altitude of 15 km Beach Abort 9 may 1960 1m, 31s Testing off pad launch abort system Mercury-Atlas 1 29 July 1960 3m,18s First flight of Mercury spacecraft and Atlas rocket booster Little Joe 5 8 Nov 1960 2m, 22sec First flight of a production Mercury craft Mercury -Redstone 1 21 Nov 1960 2sec Launch malfunction Mercury-Redstone 1A 19 Dec 1960 15m, 45sec First flight of Mercury craft and Redstone booster Mercury- Redstone 2 31 Jan 1961 16m, 39sec Carried Ham the chimp into orbit Mercury-Atlas 2 21 Feb 1961 17m, 56sec Test of Mercury craft and Atlas booster Little Joe 1A 18 Mar 1961 23m,48sec Test of launch escape systems during adverse conditions Mercury- Redstone BD 24 Mar 1961 8m,23s Redstone booster test flight Mercury- Atlas 3 25 Apr 1961 7m, 19sec Test of Mercury-Atlas with a robotic astronaut Little Joe 5B 28 Apr 1961 5m, 25 sec Test of launch escape systems during adverse conditions Mercury-Atlas 4 13 Sept 1961 1h,49min, 20sec Test of Mercury-Atlas spacecraft Mercury-Scout 1 1 Nov 1961 44sec Test of Mercury racking system network Mercury- Atlas 5 29 Nov 1961 3h, 20min, 59sec Carried Enos the chimp on a two orbit flight Unmanned Missions: Manned Missions The first astronauts were chosen from a group of 110 military pilots, picked for their flight experience and meeting certain physical requirements. A total of seven astronauts were picked, collectively known as the “Mercury Seven” (The spaceplace). Manned Missions Mission Launch date Duration Objectives Mercury-Redstone 3 5 May 1961 15m, 2sec First American to complete a sub- orbital flight, Alan Sheppard Mercury-Redstone 4 21 Jul 1961 15m, 37sec Second suborbital flight. The spacecraft sank due to a hatch falling off Mercury-Atlas 6 20 Feb 1962 4h, 55m, 23s First American to enter into orbit (3 orbits) John Glenn ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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