Mercury flight Program Summary

Missiona

Spacecraftb

Launch date

Flight duration c hr:min:sec

Occupant

Basic test objective d

Summary of results e

LJ-1

BP

Aug. 21, 1959

00:00:20

-

Max. dynamic pressure abort; evaluate launch escape and recovery systems.

Object. not met; inadvertent abort initiated during countdown.

Big Joe

BP

Sept. 9, 1959

00:13:00

-

Ballistic flight; evaluate heat-protection concept, aerodynamic shape, and recovery system.

Successful.

LJ-6

BP

Oct. 4, 1959

00:05:10

-

Ballistic flight; qualify launch-vehicle structure; evaluate command system.

Successful.

LJ-1A

BP

Nov. 4, 1959

00:08:11

-

Max. dynamic pressure abort; same as LJ-1.

Primary object. not met; escape motor ignition was late during reduced pressure region.

LJ-2

BP

Dec. 4, 1959

00:11:06

Rhesus monkey

High-altitude abort; evaluate launch, abort, and recovery dynamics on S/C; recovery.

Successful.

LJ-1B

BP

Jan. 21, 1960

00:08:35

Rhesus monkey

Max. dynamic pressure abort; same as LJ-1A; evaluate launch and abort.

Successful.

Beach abort

S/C 1

May 9, 1960

00:01:16

-

Off-the-pad abort; qualify structure and launch escape system for simulated pad abort.

Successful; expended rocket motor and tower not separated as quickly as expected.

MA-1

S/C 4

July 29, 1960

00:03:18

-

Ballistic flight; S/C-launch vehicle compatibility; thermal loads in critical abort.

Object. not met; mission failed at about 60 sec. after lift-off; S/C not recovered.

LJ-5

S/C 3

Nov. 8, 1960

00:02:22

-

Max. dynamic pressure abort; qualify launch escape system and structure.

Object. not met; S/C did not separate from launch vehicle.

MR-1

S/C 2

Nov. 21, 1960

00:00:00

Simulated man

Suborbital flight; qualify S/C-launch-vehicle compatibility, posigrades, ASCS.

Test object. not met; launch vehicle shutdown at lift-off; S/C landing system correctly deployed.

MR-1A

S/C 2

Dec. 19, 1960

00:15:45

Simulated man

Suborbital flight; same as MR-1.

Successful; cutoff overspeed caused overshoot.

MR-2

S/C 5

Feb. 21, 1961

00:16:39

Chimpanzee

Suborbital flight; qualify ECS, landing bag.

Successful; launch vehicle failed to shutdown until fuel depletion, S/C overshot by 130 miles.

MA-2

S/C 6

Feb. 21, 1961

00:17:56

-

Ballistic flight; same as MA-1.

Successful.

LJ-5A

S/C 14

Mar. 18, 1961

00:23:48

-

Max. dynamic pressure abort; same as LJ-5.

Object. not met; escape rocket ignited early; S/C recovered intact.

MR-BD

BP

Mar. 24, 1961

00:08:23

-

Suborbital flight; evaluate modifications to correct MR-1 and MR-2 malfunctions.

Successful.

MA-3

S/C 8

Apr. 25, 1961

00:07:19

Simulated man

One-pass orbital flight; evaluate all S/C systems, network, recovery forces.

Object. not met; launch vehicle failed to follow roll program; S/C escape system operated.

LJ-5B

S/C 14A

Apr. 28, 1961

00:05:25

-

Max. dynamic pressure abort; same as LJ-5 and LJ-5A.

Successful.

MR-3

S/C 7

May 5, 1961

00:15:22

Alan B. Shepard

Suborbital flight; familiarize man with space flight; evaluate response and S/C control.

Successful; first American astronaut in space.

MR-4

S/C 11

July 21, 1961

00:15:37

Virgil I. Grissom

Suborbital flight; same as MR-3.

Successful; premature hatch release caused S/C to take water and sink; astronaut recovered.

MA-4

S/C 8A

Sept. 13, 1961

01:49:20

Simulated man.

One-pass orbital flight; same as MA-3.

Successful; open circuit in control system caused S/C to land 75 miles uprange; S/C recovered.

MA-5

S/C 9

Nov. 29, 1961

03:20:59

Chimpanzee

Three-pass orbital flight; qualify all systems, network, for orbital flight recovery.

Successful; control system malfunction terminated flight after two passes.

MA-6

S/C 13

Feb. 20, 1962

04:55:23

John H. Glenn Jr.

Three-pass orbital flight; evaluate effects and performance of astronaut in space; astronaut's evaluation of S/C and support.

Successful; first American to orbit earth; control system malfunction required manual retrofire and reentry; erroneous T/M signal, retropack retained through reentry; S/C landed 40 miles uprange.

MA-7

S/C 18

May 24, 1962

04:56:05

M. Scott Carpenter

Three-pass orbital flight; same as MA-6; evaluate S/C modifications and network.

Successful; horizon scanner circuit malfunction required manual retrofire; yaw error caused S/C to land 250 miles downrange, recovery in 3 hours.

MA-8

S/C 16

Oct. 3, 1962

09:13:11

Walter M. Schirra

Six-pass orbital flight; same as MA-6 and MA-7 except for extended duration.

Successful; partially blocked ECS coolant valve delayed stabilization suit temperature until 2nd pass; S/C landed 4 1/2 miles from primary recovery ship.

MA-9

S/C 20

May 15, 1963

34:19:49

L. Gordon Cooper Jr.

Twenty-two pass orbital flight; evaluate effects on man up to 1 day in space; verify man as primary S/C system.

Successful; short circuit late in flight disabled ASCS, inverters, prompted manual retrofire and reentry; S/C landed 4 1/2 miles from ship.

a LJ- Little Joe launch vehicle mission; MA- Mercury-Atlas (launch vehicle) mission; MR- Mercury-Redstone (launch vehicle) mission; BD- Booster development.
b BP- Boilerplate spacecraft; S/C -spacecraft; S/C 10, 12, 15, 17 19 not used in flight program.
c Duration measured from lift-off to landing.
d ASCS- automatic stabilization and control system; ECS- Environmental control system.
e Object. - objectives of flight; prop. - propellant; T/M - telemetry.