Project Mercury By NASA (adobe-spark page by Felicity Finnemore)

Project Mercury began in 1958, the same year NASA itself was founded. The goal of both events was not so much to explore the galaxy and further our understanding of the universe as to beat Russia (at the time: the Soviet Union) in the "space race." Project Mercury was successfully completed in 1963, when the final astronaut involved with the program, Gordon Cooper, returned home safely from his thirty-four hour orbit around the Earth.

Inventions and advancements around this time included NASA and one of Project Mercury's spacecrafts (Mercury Atlas 7), the push-button telephone, and the hula hoop brand.

The Mission

In 1957, the Soviet Union released the Sputnik, the first satellite to be sent out from, and to orbit, the Earth.
Feeling jealous of the S.U.'s popularity in space, America rushed to build a satellite of their own. The first attempt failed miserably, but the second attempt, in the form of the satellite Explorer I, was a success. At this point, however, the U.S. realized they needed to put more effort into getting ahead of their rivals. Thus, NASA was born.

With NASA's creation in 1958, a manned mission into space was inevitable. The mission was named Project Mercury in October of that year, and over the course of the four years that followed, seven men were blasted off into orbit. The following is a video of all six launches to the soundtrack of David Bowie's 'Space Odyssey' (for no particular reason).

  1. "An automatic blood-pressure measuring system for use in flight."
  2. "Instruments for sensing the partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the oxygen atmosphere of the cabin and suit, respectively."

The sub-purpose of this mission was to test man's capabilities in surviving in space, and in piloting a spacecraft. The mission was clearly a success, as it was confirmed that extended time in low gravity wasn't detrimental to the human body, so long as the proper precautions were taken. Furthermore, this was the mission which invented and normalized the use of "large, liquid-fueled rockets" to get into space, a method which has only been built and improved upon to this day.

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