This is the overview of the Spacecraft Mercury

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The actual beginning of the effort that resulted in manned space flight cannot be pinpointed although it is known that the thought has been in the mind of man throughout recorded history. It was only in the last decade, however, that technology had developed to the point where man could actually transform his ideas into hardware to achieve space flight. Specific studies and tests conducted by government and industry culminating in 1958 indicated the feasibility of …

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…was satisfied by an adaptation of an existing missile, the Atlas. The modifications to this launch vehicle for use in the Mercury Project included the addition of a means to sense automatically impending catastrophic failure of the launch vehicle and provisions to accommodate a new structure that would form the transition between the upper section of the launch vehicle and the spacecraft. Also, the pilot-safety program was initiated to insure the selection of quality components.