Following Gordon Cooper’s flight in Faith 7, Alan Shepard and the other astronauts pushed for a six-day Mercury-Atlas 10 (MA-10) endurance mission. This would have given America the lead in the Space Race over the Soviet Union for the first time in manned space flight, and would also have met the planned biological objectives of America’s next phase of space travel. The MA-10 capsule had already been modified for the long-duration flight, and Shepard had painted Freedom 7 II on the side. While a significant debate ensued, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials decided that the Mercury Project, which had sent six American engineers into space, had fulfilled its goals and met most of its objectives. MA-10 never flew, and the time had come to move on to the second phase of America’s space flight program, Project Gemini.
The members of this project had the responsibility for placing the first pair of American astronauts into outer space in preparation for a lunar landing. This course details the contributions of the many engineers who performed their duties both on the ground and in outer space. It also describes in detail the events and achievements of American engineers and scientists in their attempt to far surpass the Soviet Union in the “Space Race” by placing a man on the Moon and assuring his safe return.
1. Learn why a “bridge” project was so necessary after President Kennedy’s commitment to place a man on the Moon and safely return him to Earth by the end of the 1960’s.
2. See how the NASA team handled pressure in the face of early dominance by the Soviet Union in the “Space Race.”
3. Learn how the U. S. went from a single-pilot module to an actual two-man spacecraft.
4. Gain an understanding of how each step in the program had significance toward achieving the goal of the United States.
5. Learn how the training and experience of the astronauts and engineers prepared them with the confidence to pursue a mission of such huge proportions.
6. Follow the progress of each Gemini mission to learn why each function of every flight was critical and necessary to prepare the U. S. for a lunar landing.
7. And, once again, come to realize how strong leadership and excellent engineering management helped to fulfill a fantastic outcome.