October Set For Orbiting Astronaut Launch


OCTOBER 1961 is the target date for orbiting a United States astronaut in space.

So, 57 years ago, started a story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of December 7th 1960.

The story continued:

Early next year, one of the seven astronauts now in training will be tossed into space in a non-orbital flight in preparation for the final event.

Neither of these two events, National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials said last week, will be delayed for more than a matter of weeks by the recent mishaps in the Project Mercury named flight programme.

But Project Mercury remains on tight schedule and there would no surprise here if the timing for the orbital try were revised further. Project Mercury is already behind the original schedule set for the first non-orbital flight. It was to have been in December.

NASA officials now say that the November 21 attempt to flight test a capsule capable of carrying a man was due to a relatively simple ground support equipment problem.

At the instant of lift-off, the Redstone rocket engine received a premature cut-off signal. The engine shut down just as it would at the end of the powered portion of the flight to space.

Similarly, the Mercury capsule began a normal sequence of events when it received an indication of an engine cut-off. The escape rocket and tower were jettisoned.

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