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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Project Mercury - 533 words
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Project Mercury Project Mercury, the first manned U.S. space project, became an officialNASA program on October 7, 1958. The Mercury Program was given two main butbroad objectives: 1. to investigate man's ability to survive and perform inthe space environment and 2. to develop basic space technology and hardware formanned space flight programs to come.
NASA also had to find astronauts to fly the spacecraft. In 1959 NASAasked the U.S. military for a list of their members who met certainqualifications. All applicants were required to have had extensive jet aircraftflight experience and engineering training. The applicants could be no morethan five feet eleven inches tall, do to the limited amount of cabin space thatthe Mercury modules provided. All who met these requirements were also requiredto undergo numerous intense physical and psychological evaluations
Finally,out of a field of 500 people who met the experience, training, and heightrequirements, NASA selected seven to become U.S. astronauts. There names,Lieutenant M. Scott Carpenter; Air Force Captains L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., Virgil "Gus" Grissom, and Donald K. "Deke" Slayton; Marine Lieutenant Colonel John H.Glenn, Jr.; and Navy Lieutenant commanders Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and Alan B.Shepard, Jr.
Of these, all flew in Project Mercury except Deke Slayton who wasgrounded for medical reasons. He later became an American crewmember of theApollo-Soyuz Test Project. The Mercury module was a bell shaped craft. Its base measured exactly74.5 inches wide and it was nine feet tall. For its boosters NASA chose two U.S.military rockets: the Army's Redstone, which provided 78,000 pounds of thrust,was used for suborbital flights, and the Air Force Atlas, providing 360,000pounds of thrust, was used for orbital fights. The Mercury craft was fastenedto the top of the booster for launch.
Upon reaching the limits of Earth'satmosphere the boosters were released from the module, and fell into uninhabitedocean. The first Mercury launch was performed on May 5, 1961. The ship,Freedom 7, was the first U.S. craft used for manned space flight. AstronautAlan Shepard, Jr. remained in suborbital flight for 15 minutes and 22 seconds,with an accumulated distance of 116 miles.
The second and final suborbital mission of the Mercury Project waslaunched on July 21, 1961. Gus Grissom navigated his ship, Liberty Bell 7,through flight for just 15 seconds longer than the previous mission. The next Mercury flight was accomplished using an Atlas booster. OnFebruary 20,1962 it fired up and launched John Glenn, Jr., inside Friendship 7,into orbit. Glenn orbited Earth three times and when he returned the countrycelebrated. Just three months later on May 24 Scott Carpenter also orbited Earththree times in Aurora 7.
On October 3, 1962 Walter Schirra, Jr. entered Earth's orbit in his ship,Sigma 7. He completed 6 orbits and then completed the first splashdown in theAtlantic Ocean. All previous splashdowns and recoveries were performed in thePacific. The final Mercury mission was the longest.
Launched into orbit on May15, 1963, Faith 7, with Gordon Cooper, Jr. inside, went around Earth 22 times in34and a half hours. On May 16 it too splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean whereit was recovered, successfully ending the Mercury Project. The Mercury Project, five years and $392.6 million dollars after itbegan, came to a close. The entire project was highly successful, achieving bothof its goals.
It paved the way for the next generation of NASA spacecraft:Gemini.
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