Mercury

In-active Human Rated Capsule Crew Capacity: 1 Diameter: 1.8 m Height: 3.3 m

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May 5, 1961

Human transportation to upper Earth atmosphere and low Earth orbit.

Flight Life

Between 15 minutes and 3 days.

Description

The Mercury spacecraft's principal designer was Maxime Faget, who started research for manned spaceflight during the time of the NACA. With 100 cubic feet (2.8 m3) of habitable volume, the capsule was just large enough for a single crew member. Inside were 120 controls: 55 electrical switches, 30 fuses and 35 mechanical levers. The heaviest spacecraft, Mercury-Atlas 9, weighed 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) fully loaded. Its outer skin was made of René 41, a nickel alloy able to withstand high temperatures.

History

The Mercury spacecraft was the manned capsule used for suborbital and orbital launches during the Project Mercury, the first human spaceflight program of the United States, from 1958 through 1963.



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