“That’s a real fireball outside.” But just how much?

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Every spacecraft that achieves orbital velocity must somehow give up that velocity to return to Earth. For Mercury, this meant paying off the energy into an ablative heat shield, a protective covering on the blunt end of the spacecraft designed to “ablate,” or burn off slowly, protecting the spacecraft within. After entry, Mercury detached its heat shield, which would deploy … Read More

Getting out of Mercury… through the top!

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Today’s Mercury feature examines a method of egress always planned but only used once – getting out of the Mercury spacecraft through the top. The explosive side hatch on Mercury is well known, and the normal method of egress at the end of the Mercury missions became┬áthe side hatch. Shepard squeezed out of the hatch after the spacecraft had been … Read More

Pigs CAN Fly… on Mercury… almost…

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Our Mercury set is 6-DVDs packed with over 24 hours of material. This week we’re highlighting some of our favorite finds from the Project Mercury experience. What does a fledgling group of engineers do when they need to test a brand new spacecraft? Find subjects to test inside the spacecraft, during flight. Before the original seven astronauts, before even Sam, … Read More