Saturday, November 1, 2014

Retro Saturday: Project Mercury Report (1959)

Click the arrow to watch the film. Video source: Jeff Quitney YouTube channel.

This week's Retro Saturday is a quarterly report prepared by NASA in late 1959 to brief Congress about Project Mercury.

The Mercury program pre-dated the creation of NASA on October 1, 1958. The military had considered various human spaceflight programs, but none were given much priority until after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957.

The year 1958 saw the United States government decide to create a civilian space agency based on the existing National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. The old NACA was combined with several civilian space programs from the Defense Department to create NASA.

Project Mercury was approved on October 7, 1958, and publicly announced December 17, 1958.

The quarterly reports began a year later. I haven't been able to find much information on them, other than apparently there were a series of these produced for Congress in the next few years.

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