Monday, April 9, 2012

Project Mercury 1st Quarterly Report Oct-Dec 1959



"The first Project Mercury quarterly report covers testing of Mercury spacecraft aerodynamics using models fired by a gun (at over 10,000 mph) and in wind tunnels (mach 14), escape tower tests in wind tunnels and launch tests with the Little Joe solid rocket booster, Little Joe construction, boilerplate spacecraft drops from C-130 aircraft to test parachute systems, the first "Big Joe" test launch of the Mercury spacecraft on an Atlas launch vehicle to confirm reentry survivability (Mercury capsule brought to launch pad on a pickup truck), molding of contour couches for the Mercury 7 astronauts John Glenn, Wally Schirra, Alan Shephard, Gordon Cooper, Scott Carpenter, Deke Slayton, and Gus Grissom, spacesuit testing, side arm controller testing for the reaction control system, flight maneuvering simulator and human centrifuge training, Mercury spacecraft mockup at McDonnel plant in St. Louis, and early stages of manufacturing the actual flight article Mercury capsules, fabricating the inner and outer titanium fuselage layers and welding them together prior to installing the systems hardware (which was not yet fully developed). Ablative heat shield, navigation periscope, ground support equipment, communications hardware, trailers to hold GSE, are also covered, and final assembly of retro rocket housings, antenna canisters, and escape towers was underway. The film ends showing Mercury program capsules on the assembly line, while fixtures are installed which will later hold the subsystems inside."

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