Mercury-Atlas rocket

Mercury-Atlas rocket

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Credit: MARK WILLIAMSON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mercury-Atlas rocket. This is an Atlas rocket with a Mercury spacecraft on top. Project Mercury took place from 1959 to 1963, succeeding in putting the first US astronaut in space on 5 May 1961. A total of six missions were flown, with four using the 29-metre long Atlas rocket. The small Mercury spacecraft (black) on top of the rocket was 2 metres long and only large enough for one crew member. The Launch Escape System tower and rocket (red) are seen above the spacecraft. Photographed in the Rocket Garden, at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Florida, USA.

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