Tests and space chimps

Before NASA would commit to send an astronaut into space, they tested the Mercury technology thoroughly with a series of unmanned launches and a number of flights with primate passengers.

While the Mercury Seven spent their days in training or parading before the press, the engineers at McDonnell and the Space Task Group's offices at Langley Field, Virginia (the former NACA laboratories), were labouring to complete the vehicle that would eventually take them into space.

FIT FOR AN APE

Ham and the later space chimp Enos (shown here) both wore custom-made spacesuits for their flights. In Ham's case, the suit probably saved his life when a loose valve resulted in a sudden drop in cabin pressure.

SIMULATOR TRAINING

While Horn took to the skies, the Mercury Seven were still stuck on the ground - here John Glenn is undergoing a simulated mission on the Mercury Procedures Trainer at Langley Field, Virginia.

Mercury launch and re-entry in good condition, then it seemed likely that a human could do. And there was another advantage of using primates - some were smart enough to be trained, allowing doctors to assess how they fared mentally in orbit.

SIMULATOR TRAINING

While Horn took to the skies, the Mercury Seven were still stuck on the ground - here John Glenn is undergoing a simulated mission on the Mercury Procedures Trainer at Langley Field, Virginia.

0 0

Post a comment