Project Mercury of the NASA was the first human spaceflight program of the USA end nineteen fifties / beginning of the sixties. Those were the days of the Cold War and the Space race putting a human in orbit around the Earth, and doing it before the Soviet Union. Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union was the first man in space, and a month later Alan Shepard became the first American in space May 5, 1961. 

The Mercury spacecraft was produced by McDonnell Aircraft in St.Louis. With room for a single pilot, it was about 3.3 m long and 1.8 m wide, a weight of about 1400 kg and on top of the spacecraft a launch escape system was fitted. It was launched usually from a modified Atlas rocket from Cape Canaveral (Florida USA). Also a Redstone rocket was used. The pilot sat in a seat moulded from his body. There were some small windows to look through and it could be manoeuvred a bit with 3 thrusters. It landed back to earth in the sea with parachutes. Several spacecraft were tested first unmanned before Alan Shepard was put into space in the Mercury Freedom 7.

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Mercury US Space Craft

The exact nature of this Mercury is unknown (mock-up, training vehicle). It was seen full scale at " A Human Adventure" space exhibition in Utrecht, The Netherlands January 2014.

Photographed January 2014 by Meindert de Vreeze (c) Copyright IPMS Nederland

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Revell Monogram has a very nice 1/32 scale model available.