Encyclopedia Astronautica
1959.09.28 - Proposals for follow-on experiments using Project Mercury capsules.

Space Task Group's (STG) New Projects Panel discussed the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation proposals for follow-on experiments using Project Mercury capsules.

After concluding that these proposals came under panel jurisdiction, Chairman H. Kurt Strass asked for further studies to provide STG with suggestions for action. Discussion at the panel's next meeting on October 5 centered on McDonnell's proposals. All had shortcomings, but the panel felt that certain potentially valuable elements might be combined into a single proposal promising increased spacecraft performance and an opportunity to evaluate some advanced mission concepts at an early date. Noting that any amplification of current Mercury missions would demand increased orbital weight, the panel advised an immediate study of possible follow-on missions to determine the performance specifications for a second-stage propulsion system with restart and thrust control capability. Other studies were needed to specify a second-stage guidance and control system to ensure the achievement of the desired orbital altitude (up to 150 miles) and to control reentry within the heat protection limits of the current, or slightly modified, capsule. Also worth studying, in the panel's opinion, were maneuvering in orbit (rendezvous experiments) and within the atmosphere (reentry control experiments).

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