Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mercury MA-7 Delta 7


Crew: Slayton. Planned second US manned orbital flight. Cancelled 18 March 1962 when astronaut's minor heart condition became public. Backup crew: Schirra.

Astronaut Deke Slayton was to have been the second American in orbit. When Slayton was selected as an astronaut in 1959, it was known he had a minor heart fibrillation. This however did not prevent him from being an Air Force test pilot or being selected as an astronaut. But on January 23, 1962 John Glenn's wife refused to do a television appearance with Vice President Lyndon Johnson after a launch scrub of Glenn's mission. Soon thereafter rumours began in McNamara's Pentagon that Glenn had a secret heart condition. It was not Glenn, and his flight went as planned, but in the process Slayton's heart fibrillation came up. After a series of quick developments, Slayton was told he couldn't fly, and was forced to appear at a press conference making that announcement on March 16. The action was seen by many as a warning to the astronauts who was really in charge, although Slayton didn't think there was a direct cause and effect. Slayton's three orbit flight would have been called Delta 7. Instead Carpenter was selected for the mission, and Schirra, Slayton's backup, was moved to the Mercury 8 flight.

AKA: Delta 7.
First Launch: 1962 May.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Schirra Schirra, Walter Marty Jr 'Wally' (1923-2007) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on Mercury MA-8, Gemini 6, Apollo 7. Member of first crew to rendezvous in space, and commander of first manned Apollo mission. Remembered both for practical jokes and uncompromising attention to detail. Flew 90 combat missions in the Korean War. More...
  • Slayton Slayton, Donald Kent 'Deke' (1924-1993) American test pilot astronaut. Slated to fly third Mercury mission, grounded due to a medical issue and became astronaut commander, assigning crews for lunar landings. Later finally flew on Apollo (ASTP). More...

See also
Associated Programs
  • Mercury Mercury was America's first man-in-space project. Setting the precedent for the later Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs, any capsule configuration proposed by the contractors was acceptable as long as it was the one NASA's Langley facility, and in particular, Max Faget, had developed. McDonnell, at that time a renegade contractor of innovative Navy fighters that had a history of problems in service, received the contract. The capsule had to be as small as possible to match the payload capability of America's first ICBM, the Atlas, which would be used for orbital missions. The resulting design was less than a third of the weight of the Russian Vostok spacecraft, and more limited as a result. More...

Mercury MA-7 Delta 7 Chronology


1962 May - .
  • Mercury MA-7 Delta 7 (cancelled) - . Call Sign: Delta 7. Crew: Slayton. Backup Crew: Schirra. Payload: Mercury SC18. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Johnson, Lyndon; McNamara; Slayton; Schirra. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-7 Delta 7. Spacecraft: Mercury. Astronaut Deke Slayton was to have been the second American in orbit. On March 16, 1962, it was announced that Slayton was grounded - due to a minor heart fibrillation known to NASA when they selected him to be an astronaut. Slayton's three orbit flight would have been called Delta 7. Instead Carpenter was selected for the mission, and Schirra, Slayton's backup, was moved to the Mercury 8 flight.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use