The Objectives Of The Mercury Project

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The objectives of the Mercury Project, as stated at the time of project go-ahead, were as follows:

Place a manned spacecraft in orbital flight around the earth.
Investigate man 's performance capabilities and his ability to function in the environment of space.
Recover the man and the spacecraft safely. After the objectives were established for the project, a number of guidelines were established to insure that the most expedient and safest approach for attainment of the objectives was followed. The basic guidelines that were established are as follows:

Existing technology and off-the-shelf equipment should be used wherever practical.
The simplest and most reliable approach to system design would be followed.
An existing launch
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Items (2) and (5) have been made apparent by the manner in which the astronaut has manually controlled the attitude of the spacecraft during orbital maneuvers, retrofire, and reentry, and by the recovery of the spacecraft and astronauts after each flight by recovery forces which included aircraft carriers and destroyers. Basically, the equipment used in the spacecraft was derived from off-the-shelf equipment or through the direct application of existing technology, although some notable exceptions were made in order to improve reliability and flight safety. These exceptions include:

An automatic blood-pressure measuring system for use in flight.
Instruments for sensing the partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the oxygen atmosphere of the cabin and suit, respectively. Some may argue with the detailed way in which the second basic guideline of simplicity was carried out; however, this guideline was carried out to the extent possible within the volume, weight, and redundancy requirements imposed upon the overall system. The effect of the weight and volume constraints, of course, resulted in smaller and lighter equipment that could not always be packaged in an optimum way for simplicity.

Redundancy probably increased the complexity of the systems more than
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