Mercury-Atlas 2

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Mercury-Atlas 2
S61-01226.jpg
Launch of MA-2
Mission type Test flight
Operator NASA
Mission duration 17 minutes, 56 seconds
Distance travelled 2,305 kilometres (1,432 mi)
Apogee 183 kilometres (114 mi)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft Mercury No.6
Manufacturer McDonnell Aircraft
Launch mass 1,154 kilograms (2,544 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date February 21, 1961, 14:10 (1961-02-21UTC14:10Z) UTC
Rocket Atlas LV-3B
Launch site Cape Canaveral LC-14
End of mission
Landing date February 21, 1961, 14:28 (1961-02-21UTC14:29Z) UTC

Mercury insignia.png


Project Mercury
Mercury-Atlas series
← Mercury-Atlas 1 Mercury-Atlas 3

Mercury-Atlas 2 (MA-2) was launched unmanned on February 21, 1961 at 14:10 UTC, from Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.[1]

Test objectives for this flight were concerned with the ability of the spacecraft to withstand reentry under the temperature-critical abort conditions and with the capability of the Atlas to meet the proper injection conditions. Convair had promised to deliver thicker-skinned Atlas vehicles for subsequent flights, however Missile 67D was the last of the thin-skinned model and so it had to be modified for the Mercury mission, incorporating a stainless steel reinforcing band installed around the vehicle between stations 502 and 510. A thin sheet of asbestos was installed between the reinforcing band and the tank skin. This modification was installed as a precaution against the type of failure which had occurred on the previous MA-1 flight.

The Atlas lifted into a clear blue February sky quite different from the cloudy, foggy weather of the MA-1 flight. Everyone in the blockhouse waited nervously for the vehicle to pass through the critical Max Q zone. When it did so successfully, there was "enormous jubilation" from the launch team. MA-2 flew a successful suborbital mission that lasted 17 minutes 56 seconds. Altitude reached was 114 miles (183 km), speed, 13,227 mph (21,287 km/h). All test objectives were fully met. The capsule was recovered 1,432 miles (2305 km) downrange. Peak acceleration was 15.9 g (156 m/s²). Mass 1,154 kg.

Mercury spacecraft # 6 and Atlas # 67-D were used in the mission.

Mercury spacecraft # 6 used in the Mercury-Atlas 2 mission, is currently displayed at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, TX.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Loyd S. Swenson Jr., James M. Grimwood, Charles C. Alexander (1966). "10". This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury - NASA SP-4201. NASA Special Publication-4201 in the NASA History Series. p. 4. Archived from the original on 2007-08-23. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "Mercury spacecraft #6 display page on A Field Guide to American Spacecraft website". 

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

See also[edit]