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