This New Ocean: A History Of Project Mercury (Paperback Reprint)

This New Ocean: A History Of Project Mercury (Paperback Reprint)
This New Ocean: A History Of Project Mercury (Paperback Reprint)
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Detailed history of Project Mercury, from the impetus caused by Soviet Cold War rocketry and Sputnik, to the early research on G-forces and human factors of manned space flight, to actual rocket design, development, astronaut selection, the space race, launch and more. Authors: Loyd S. Swenson Jr., James M. Grimwood and Charles C. Alexander.

Project Mercury was the first human spaceflight program of the United States from 1959 through 1963. Although its two primary goals were to put a human in orbit around the Earth, and to do so prior to the Soviet Union, the Soviets achieved this a month before Mercury.

A quote from President John F. Kennedy from the end of the Mercury program appears on the book cover and sums up the national sentiment about the legacy of the project, while simultaneously providing the inspiration for the title of this book:

"We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of preeminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new, terrifying theater of war." - JOHN F. KENNEDY, Rice University Stadium, Houston, Texas; September 12, 1962

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Part 1 - Research

    Chapter 1 - The Lure, the lock, the Key (to 1958)
        Conquest of the Air
        The Highway to Space
        Postwar American Rocketry
        Redstone and Atlas
        Sputniks and Soul-Searching

    Chapter 2 - Exploring the Human Factor (1948 - 1958)
        Beginnings of Space Medicine
        Zero G
        Multiple G
        Environmental Control
        Matter From Space
        Space Radiation
        A Reason for Research

   Chapter 3 - Aeronautics to Astronautics: NACA Research (1952 - 1957)
        NACA Moves Toward Space
        Reentry: Aerodynamics to Thermodynamics
        A Moon for a Man
        Air Force Provides a Need
        Jockeying for Position

   Chapter 4 - From NACA to NASA (November 1957 - September 1958)
        Missiles to Manned Ballistic Satellites
        NACA's Metamorphosis Begins
        Man in Space Soonest?
        NACA Makes Ready
        Birth of NASA
        Other Means to the Same End
        NASA Gets the Job

Part 2 - Development

    Chapter 5 - Specifications for a Manned Satellite (October - December 1958)
        A Manned Satellite Plan
        The People in Charge
        "Aerospace" Technology
        Calling for a Capsule Contractor
        Shopping for the Boosters
        Heat Sink Versus Ablation
        Project Astronaut

    Chapter 6 - From Design into Development (January - June 1959)
        Brickbat Priority
        Awarding the Prime Contract
        Heatshield Resolution
        Applied Research
        Costs and Cancellations
        Supporting Agencies and Industries
        Astronaut Selection

    Chapter 7 - Man-Rating the Machines (July - December 1959)
        Mercury Team Takes Shape
        Converging Technologies
        Approaches to Reliability
        Critical Components of the Capsule
        Big Joe Shot
        Little Joe Series
        One World Network

    Chapter 8 - Machine-Rating the Men (January - June 1960)
        Controlling the Hostile Environment
        Suiting Up for Space
        Seven Astronauts in Training
        Looking Over Mercury and Beyond
        Management Learns Its Limits
        Is Perfect Reliability Possible?
        Head and Hands of NASA

    Chapter 9 - From Development into Qualification: Flight Tests (July - December 1960)
        Moving to the Launch Site
        Atlas-Mercury One: A Complete Failure
        Election Year Appraisals
        Technical Sprint for Man in Space
        Little Joe 5 Votes No
        MR-1: The Four-Inch Flight
        MR-1A: Suborbital Quality Proven

    Chapter 10 - Tests Versus Time in the Race for Space (January - April 1961)
        MR-2: Ham Paves the Way
        MA-2: Trussed Atlas Qualifies the Capsule
        When is a Vehicle Man-Rated?
        LJ-5A Still Premature
        MR-BD Is Not MR-3
        Vostok Wins the First Lap
        "News Will be Worse Before it is Better:" MA-3 and LJ-5B

    Part 3 - Operations
        Chapter 11 - Suborbital Flights into Space
            Final Preparation for MR-3
            Last-Minute Qualms
            Shepard's Ride
            Briefing the Briefers
            Precipitation From MR-3
            Second Suborbital Trial
            Liberty Bell Tolls
            Titov Widens the Gap

        Chapter 12 - Final Rehearsal
            Mercury Orbits At Last
            Space Task Group Gets a New Home and Name
            Wires Get Crossed: Mercury-Scout 1
            Man or Chimpanzee for MA-5?
            Training Primates and Men
            Chimpanzee Into Orbit
            Now a Man in Orbit?

        Chapter 13 - Mercury Mission Accomplished
            Preparing a Man to Orbit
            Buildup for the Space Offensive
            An American in Orbit
            The Hero
            Program Growth
            The Slayton Case
            MA-7 Preparations
            Flight of Aurora 7

        Chapter 14 - Climax of Project Mercury
            Longer Legs for Mercury
            Preparations for MA-8
            The Textbook Flight
            Redevelopment for MA-9
            Faith 7 for 22 Orbits
            Whither Gemini?


    Notes on Sources and Selected Bibliography
        Note on Sources
        Persons Interviewed
        Selected Bibliography (1) - Basic Reports on Project Mercury
        Selected Bibliography (2) - NASA Project Mercury Working Papers
        Selected Bibliography (3) - Biblographical Aids
        Selected Bibliography (4) - Official Reports and Documents
        Selected Bibliography (5) - Books
        Selected Bibliography (6) - Journal Articles
        Selected Bibliography (7) - Unpublished Works
        Selected Bibliography (8) - Postflight Reports

        Appendix A - Functional Organization of Mercury
        Appendix B - Workflow Organization of Mercury
        Appendix C - Organization Charts(Please be aware that this file contains graphics-laden organizational charts that will take significant time to download).
        Appendix D - Flight Data Summary
        Appendix E - Personnel Growth
        Appendix F - Project Mercury Cost Summaries
        Appendix G - Project Mercury Tracking Net


Students would find valuable information on the history of Project Mercury and human spaceflight programs of the United States. In addition, this would be an enjoyable read for scientists, historians, and others interested in the history of space flight.

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