Missions Into Space
Project Mercury began in 1958 and completed in 1963. This was the first major U.S. program to establish a human presence in space. The objectives of the program, which made six human flights from 1961 to 1963, were:
-To successfully orbit a manned spacecraft around Earth
-To investigate humankinds' ability to function in space
-To recover both occupant and spacecraft
Each Mercury spacecraft carried one astronaut. There were seven astronauts, all military test pilots. Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Gordon Cooper and Scott Carpenter were the seven pilots in the Mercury missions. The Mercury mission was a complete success. NASA made an outstanding accomplishment by putting Americans into space.
Project Gemini was the second human spaceflight program initiated by the U.S. The mission took place between Project Mercury and Apollo 11. Project Gemini had 10 successful flights in 1965 and 1966. The objectives of Project Gemini were:
-gain astronaut experience with long duration space flights
-perfect methods of re entry and landing the spacecraft
-study the effects of weightlessness on astronauts during long flights
This mission provided a crucial experience by testing technics for sending humans to the moon. David R. Scott and Neil Armstrong was the crew aboard the Gemini. Project Gemini was again a success. NASA continues to amaze and surprise.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the moon. About 6 1/2 hours later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. It took Apollo 11 a little more than three days to reach the moon; they traveled 240,000 miles in about 76 hours. Apollo 11 was a successful mission, but it had its bad moments. Armstrong had trouble landing the Eagle spacecraft because of an unexpected boulder field. Plus the craft only had 20 seconds of fuel left. Buzz Aldrin had accidentally broken the re-ignition switch that would send them back into space, and they had to find a way to replace it. The objectives of Apollo 11 were:
-to preform a manned lunar landing and come back to Earth
-to perform selenological inspection and sampling.
-to obtain data to assess the capability and limitations of the astronaut and his equipment in the lunar surface environment.
NASA archived their goal on July 20, 1969. They will continue to surprise the world for many, many years.