Questions tagged [project-mercury]

Project Mercury was the first human spaceflight program of the United States.

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Where to look for historical or reconstructed orbit data for early NASA missions - Mercury-Atlas 6 for example

After reading this answer I decided that for my own use I'd like to plot the orbit of Mercury-Atlas 6, the spacecraft piloted by John Glenn on February 20, 1962. This thorough answer lists fourteen (...
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3answers
870 views

How many earth stations had astronauts on-site during John Glenn's orbit in Friendship-7?

The Washington Post just republished it's February 21, 1962 article covering the launch, Earth orbit, and safe re-entry and recovery of (Senator) John H. Glenn, in recognition of his service and ...
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1answer
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What are some specific examples of the calculations human “computers” did for the Mercury space program?

The movie Hidden Figures tells the story of three black women who were "computers" for the Mercury space program. They performed calculations related to orbits, launches, aerodynamics, etc. What are ...
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Size of Apollo era astronauts

I had read that the early astronauts were all 'short guys'. This made a lot of sense. A short man can have as much stamina and endurance as a large man, yet eat less, consume less oxygen & (...
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1answer
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Is there any reason why American spacesuits color changed over years?

From Mercury silver suits to orange Space Shuttle ones, color of space suits have changed over years. Is there any reason for it?
7
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1answer
299 views

How was time kept on board early manned spaceflights?

I have not been able to find a definitive answer to this. From Mercury to Gemini to Apollo, what was the mechanism for keeping time onboard the spacecraft? Did the Engineers spend energy (and maybe ...
26
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1answer
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Did Ham the Chimp follow commands, or did he just randomly push levers?

The first American to operate spacecraft controls (instead of being a passive passenger) was Ham the chimpanzee. He was trained to push some levers, which he did about 50 times during his flight. ...
7
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1answer
759 views

How did Shepard's and Grissom's speeds compare with orbital velocity?

As is often said here and in XKCD, an orbit isn't merely high up... it's also going fast. The first two American astronauts -- Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom -- did indeed get "high up" enough to ...
24
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1answer
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Why was the Friendship 7 Mercury heat shield detachable?

We know that just before reentry started, there was concern over a signal which indicated that the heat shield which would protect the capsule from the heat of reentry had become detached. This would ...
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1answer
6k views

Did NASA use metric units for the Mercury missions?

Did NASA use metric or English units for Project Mercury? For example, did they measure delta-v in meters/second or in feet/second?
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Why didn't Project Mercury advance to an orbital flight on their second mission?

Manned programs are noted for progressing through a series of flights. Early missions focus on basic hardware and simple tasks; as the technology becomes proven, the scope and duration of later ...
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1answer
156 views

First radio contact between an Australian and a spacecraft? First voice communications?

Launched east from Cape Canaveral at about 30 degrees north latitude, the first few orbits have an opportunity to pass over Australia because it's big and roughly antipodal, especially as the Earth ...