The Mercury Project
The USA's first attempt at manned space flight was christened The Mercury Project. Learn all there is to know about this famous space project with the insightful VideoJug film.
Following the end of the Second World War, the scientists who had designed and built Nazi Germany's V2 rocket were divided between the USSR and the United states.
Werner Von Braun was adopted by the US and continued to develop ideas about rocket flight. At the same time Russia was also developing its own rocket system.
The US's first attempt at manned space flight was christened Project Mercury. In 1959, seven astronauts were selected to be the first in space.
On 12 April 1961 Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man into space.
One month later on May 5th 1961 Alan Shepard climed inside a tiny capsule 10ft X 6ft, Freedom 7 that had been fixed to the top of a Redstone ballistic missile.
On a 15 minute flight that took him straight up over 150 miles.
Later that year in July Virgil ‘Gus Grissom' followed In Liberty Bell 7. Unfortunately his capsule sank after splashing down in the Ocean.
Mercury rockets were a single stage Rocket that were designed to land in the Ocean and be collected from there. Then on feb 6th 1962 John Glenn completed the first orbit of the Earth by an American.
The Mercury flights continued with Scott carpenter and Wally Schirra.
Finally Gordon Cooper spent one whole day in space and did 22 orbits of the earth to discover the effects of weightlessness.
John Glenn returned to Space in 1998 at the age of 77 on the Space shuttle discovery.
These truly were the pioneers of space flight.