The Mercury Project lasted from October 7, 1958
until the summer of 1963
, launching the era of American manned space flight
and paving the way for the Gemini
projects of the 1960s. The seven original astronauts
were introduced to the public on April 9, 1959. The instantly famous Mercury Seven
were carrying out a project which had only three objectives:
By all accounts, the project was a historic success. The Mercury Project successfully transformed the efforts of more than 2 million Americans from all walks of life into a tangible and fantastically successful manned space program. Along with their Soviet rivals, the Mercury trailblazers unleashed the potential of 20th century technology to awe and inspire the world, beginning with Alan Shepard's 15-minute suborbital flight. The glory days of NASA start here.