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The Mercury capsule, the first U.S. spaceship, was a cone-shaped one-man capsule with a cylinder mounted on top. 2 meters long, 1.9 meters in diameter, a 5.8 meter escape tower was fastened to the cylinder of the capsule. The blunt end was covered with an ablative heat shield to protect it against the 3000 degree heat of entry into the atmosphere.

The Mercury program used three launch vehicles: The Little-Joe-1 for escape rocket tests, the Redstone-MRLV for the suborbital and the Atlas-D Mercury for orbital flights. Prior to the manned flights, unmanned tests of the booster and the capsule, carrying a chimpanzee, were made. Each astronaut named his capsule and added the numeral 7 to denote the teamwork of the original astronauts.

List of all Mercury Crews

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Manned spacecraft
Operator: NASA
Contractors: McDonnell
Propulsion: 3 × TE-M-316 retro rockets
Power: Batteries
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Mercury BA-1 (Mercury 1) N/A 09.05.1960 WI * Mercury-LES
Mercury LJ-5 (Mercury 3) N/A 08.11.1960 WI LA-1 *P Little-Joe-1 (2 Pollux, 4 Recruit)
Mercury LJ-5A (Mercury 14 F1) N/A 18.03.1961 WI LA-1 * Little-Joe-1 (4 Castor, 4 Recruit)
Mercury LJ-5B (Mercury 14 F2) N/A 28.04.1961 WI LA-4 *P Little-Joe-1 (4 Castor, 4 Recruit)
Mercury MA-1 (Mercury 4) N/A 29.07.1960 CC LC-14 *F Atlas-D Mercury
Mercury MA-2 (Mercury 6) N/A 21.02.1961 CC LC-14 * Atlas-D Mercury
Mercury MA-3 (Mercury 8 F1) 1961-F03 25.04.1961 CC LC-14 F Atlas-D Mercury
Mercury MA-4 (Mercury 8 F2) 1961 αα 1 13.09.1961 CC LC-14 Atlas-D Mercury
Mercury MA-5 (Mercury 9) 1961 αι 1 29.11.1961 CC LC-14 Atlas-D Mercury
Mercury MA-6 (Mercury 13, Friendship 7) 1962 γ 1 20.02.1962 CC LC-14 Atlas-D Mercury
Mercury MA-7 (Mercury 18, Aurora 7) 1962 τ 1 24.05.1962 CC LC-14 Atlas-D Mercury with Balloon-Subsat 1
Mercury MA-8 (Mercury 16, Sigma 7) 1962 βδ 1 03.10.1962 CC LC-14 Atlas-D Mercury
Mercury MA-9 (Mercury 20, Faith 7) 1963-015A 15.05.1963 CC LC-14 Atlas-D Mercury with Flashing Light Capsule, Balloon-Subsat 2
Mercury MA-10 (Mercury 15B, Freedom 7-II) - not launched CC LC-14 Atlas-D Mercury
Mercury MR-1 (Mercury 2 F1) N/A 21.11.1960 CC LC-5 *F Redstone-MRLV
Mercury MR-1A (Mercury 2 F2) N/A 19.12.1960 CC LC-5 * Redstone-MRLV
Mercury MR-2 (Mercury 5) N/A 31.01.1961 CC LC-5 * Redstone-MRLV
Mercury MR-3 (Mercury 7, Freedom 7) N/A 05.05.1961 CC LC-5 * Redstone-MRLV
Mercury MR-4 (Mercury 11, Liberty Bell 7) N/A 21.07.1961 CC LC-5 * Redstone-MRLV
Mercury 10 - not launched
Mercury 12B - not launched
Mercury 17 - not launched
Mercury 19 - not launched

* = suborbital

Further Mercury missions: