This New Ocean – NASA’s History of Project Mercury

Originally published in 1966 by the Scientific and Technical Information Division of NASA as part of The NASA Historical Series, this official account of Project Mercury is available online as a series of HTML files here or as a portable PDF file here. In essence, our understanding of space flight exist because of the accomplishments of Project Mercury, and this is that history as published three years after the ending of that program.


Already Project Mercury has come to be regarded as a single episode in the history of flight and of the United States. Rather, it was many episodes, many people, many days of inspiration, frustration, and elation. Journalists and other contemporary observers have written millions of words, taken thousands of photographs, and produced hundreds of reports, official and otherwise, on the origins, development, failures, successes, and significance of this country’s first efforts in the manned exploration of space. The foremost image of Mercury emerging from its mountainous publicity was that of seven selected test pilots called “astronauts.” Central as were their roles and critical as were their risks in the individual manned flights, the astronauts themselves did not design, develop, or decide the means and [xii] ends of the overall program. Thousands of engineers, scientists, technicians, and administrators, as well as the seven astronauts, cooperated to fulfill Mercury’s goals, and this program history tries to blend and balance the personal, social, and technical facets of the project as it progressed.

This history of Project Mercury is, in more than the usual sense, drawn from the memory of many of the primary participants in the program. They provided much of the documentation upon which this narrative is based, and some 150 of them have commented upon all or parts of a review edition before publication. They are not responsible, however, for the selection, organization, or interpretations of facts as here presented. If errors persist in this account, the fault lies solely with the authors.



Images from the Project Mercury Wikipedia entry.

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.