Project Mercury and Its Legacy

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  • Topic: NASA, Human spaceflight, Space exploration
  • Pages : 3 (926 words )
  • Download(s) : 149
  • Published : February 13, 2013
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In the twentieth century, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a competition called the Space Race. This was a race to who would be the first country to send a rocket and a human being up into space. Although the Soviet Union was the first to send both a rocket and a human up into space, the United States successfully carried out a space mission called Project Mercury. Project Mercury was carried out in 1959 and came to a conclusion in 1963. It was the first human spaceflight program that was undertaken by the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). From when it was first introduced, to when the space mission was carried out, and when it had succumbed to its end, Project Mercury became an important mission which left one of the greatest legacies in United States history.

In the initiation of Project Mercury, the government began a search for seven great Americans who would become United States's first astronauts. To be considered for the position, the Americans had to meet some requirements, which were as follows: needed to be test pilots, needed to be no taller than 5'11", needed to weigh no more than 180 pounds, needed to be under the age of forty, needed to have a Bachelor's degree or equivalent, have 1,500 hours of flying time, and have qualifications for flying jets. In addition to the requirements, the pilots had to go through rigorous testing and training that would assure that they were capable handling problems the spacecraft and the flight may pose on them. Out of the handful of pilots who met these requirements, only seven were chosen to become America's first astronauts who were Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton. Since these flights were going to be manned, NASA contracted Max Faget as the primary designer, along with a team of engineers to build the Mercury Spacecraft. It's design was "a cone-shaped one-man capsule with a cylinder...
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