In 2016, the last of the Mercury astronauts died. None of the first batch of American pioneers to go into space are still alive. The Mercury Seven were guests at a test flight of an Atlas rocket, which exploded shortly after launch, only six weeks after they were unveiled to the world. The astronauts lost their lives in that accident: John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, Francis Crick, Donald Hornig, Walter Schirra, and Leroy Chiao.
The question of whether or not the Mercury Seven astronauts were responsible for destroying themselves with their own experiments has been raised time and again over the years. They were all experienced pilots who had each flown over 100 hours in the Mercury program by the time of their deaths. However, there was an oxygen tank on board the Atlas rocket that killed them; and several of the astronauts were also carrying out their own research into space medicine and biology.
The truth will never be known about what happened during that fateful ride in October 1996. But whatever the cause, it's safe to say that no one will ever fly in space again as proudly as the men who died on Mercury.
The whole Mercury Seven crew finally traveled into space. From May 1961 to May 1963, they piloted the six spaceflights of the Mercury program with an astronaut on board, and members of the group flew on all of NASA's human spaceflight missions of the twentieth century—Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and the Space Shuttle. However, not all of them went into orbit; three of the pilots died when their aircraft crashed.
Alan Shepard was flying his personal vehicle across the country when he broke the sound barrier over Washington, D.C. Injuries from this accident forced him to leave NASA. He moved to Florida where he worked as a medical doctor until his death in 1998 at the age of 72. John Glenn was also seriously injured in his own spacecraft during reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. He spent several months recovering before being allowed to return to work. On February 20, 1962, he became the first American to orbit the planet. The last mission of the Mercury program was flown by Scott Carpenter who stayed in space for more than seven hours. He returned to Earth on April 12, 1963.
So, yes, all of the Mercury Seven astronauts went into space. Even though Alan Shepard never actually orbited the planet, he still received a medal for his role in advancing human knowledge of space travel. The other six men were only second-in-command on their missions so they didn't receive any awards but they still made significant contributions toward expanding the realm of human knowledge.
4 hours, 56 minutes, and 5 seconds elapsed. He was the sixth person in history to fly in space. Mercury spacecraft No. 18 and Atlas launch vehicle No. 1 were utilised in the mission. 7. Mercury-Atlas
|Mission duration||4 hours, 56 minutes, 5 seconds|
|Distance travelled||122,344 kilometers (76,021 mi)|
Project Mercury was the United States' first human spaceflight program, operating from 1958 to 1963. The purpose of this early feature of the Space Race was to launch a man into Earth orbit and safely return him, hopefully before the Soviet Union. The project was managed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and was funded by the Congress. Alan B. Shepard Jr. was the first American in space on May 5, 1961, when he flew a modified Vostok spacecraft named Freedom 7 around the world three times before returning to Earth.
Shepard's flight was sponsored by Quaker Oats and it made commercial travel to the moon possible. It is estimated that his trip earned $20 million at the time, which was more than any other single mission at the time. NASA continued the project with eight more flights, including John Glenn who became the first senator to orbit the planet. In addition to Shepard and Glenn, these men also walked on the Moon: Vladimir Komarov, Sergei Korolev, Edward White, and André Malančenko. The last manned flight ended when John Young, riding a Soyuz spacecraft, joined Apollo 17 on its journey to the Moon in December 1972. That mission was intended to be the final lunar landing, but after problems with the Soyuz capsule's power supply, Young had to remain in orbit while the rest of the crew returned to Earth.
Mariner 10 was the only NASA spacecraft to explore Mercury in 1974 and 1975. It was scheduled to fly past the planet three times in order to photograph its extensively cratered surface. There's still more than half of Mercury that we haven't seen before. The spacecraft returned images that were two and a half times clearer than those taken by Mariner 9 four years earlier.
NASA also sent three Earth-based orbiters to study Mercury's environment: GEOTLEASH, GRAIL, and MESSENGER. These satellites provided evidence that Mercury has a thin veneer of rock over a dense core of iron metal.
In 1990, the American spacecraft SMART-1 was launched with the goal of studying Mercury's magnetic field and any changes to it over time. However, after entering Mercury's orbit, the spacecraft malfunctioned and crashed into the planet's surface.
In 2011, NASA's Dawn mission entered orbit around the giant Jupiter moon Daedalus. Scientists are planning to use data from this mission to understand how planets form disks of dust around young stars. In April 2012, NASA announced that it had successfully contacted Dawn using its Deep Space Network antennae. This means that if all goes according to plan, scientists will be able to command Dawn to perform certain experiments once they have been selected.