Mercury Capsule, 1959. Creator: NASA.

Mercury Capsule, 1959. Creator: NASA.

2-839-629 - Heritage Art/Heritage Images

On September 9, 1959, NASA launched this unoccupied Mercury spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a suborbital flight that lasted 13 minutes. Its launch was the second in the Mercury program and the first using an Atlas booster. The flight helped NASA evaluate the booster, the new ablative heat shield, the capsule's flight dynamics and aerodynamic shape, and spacecraft recovery systems and procedures. The heavily instrumented "Big Joe" was the most massive American spacecraft launched up to that time. It weighed about as much as a manned version would, and its success paved the way for the beginning of manned Mercury launches in 1961.

Image Details

People Information

  1. NASA, attributed to: American:

  1. Heatshield: phenolic fiberglass
  2. Heatshield: phenolic resins, fiberglass
  3. Structure: inconel alloy

Picture Type
  1. Object
  2. Spacecraft-manned-test vehicles

Category Hierarchy

Science & Nature Technology & Innovation

Science & Nature Discovery & Exploration

Digital Image Size

Pixel Dimensions (W x H) : 6200x8272
File Size : 150,254kb


  1. A19680244000
  1. NASM-A19680244000-NASM2019-01791.txt
  1. 0990010213
  1. 2-839-629
  1. 2839629
  1. A19680244000

Buy a Print  

Keywords - refine your search by combining multiple keywords below.