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Mercury MA-11
Part of Mercury
Mercury Atlas 5
Mercury Atlas 5
Credit: NASA
Planned third one-day Mercury flight. Cancelled as too risky after Mercury MA-9 achieved objective, but only after failure of many spacecraft systems.

Launched: By the end of 1963. Number crew: 1 .

On July 27, 1961 NASA met with McDonnell engineers to discuss modification of the Mercury spacecraft for Project MODM (Manned One-Day Mission). On October 25, 1961 NASA authorized McDonnell to proceed with the modification of four capsules and associated testing to support four manned MODM flights beginning in late 1962 and finishing by the end of 1963. From then until April 1962 NASA's Mercury program plan included four one-day flights in 1963: MA-10 through MA-13. But by October 1962 the decision was taken to cancel the last short-duration flight and move directly to the one-day flights. Therefore Carpenter's MA-9 flight switched capsules from the short duration SC19 to the long-duration SC20. By this time the decision had been quietly taken to limit the long-duration flights to only MA-9 and MA-10 (SC15B). There were several good reasons for this. The Mercury program was behind schedule and it would be difficult to fly more than two long-duration flights before the mandated completion of the program at the end of 1963. The flight roster of astronauts had been reduced to four, and of these only Grissom would not have made an orbital flight.

If SC12B had flown on a long-duration flight it would have been crewed by Grissom. Given the plans to follow SC15B for three days, it probably also would have undertaken a three to six day flight. Grissom was however already deeply involved with the follow-on project Gemini. It is likely that, as a test pilot, he considered commanding the first manned Gemini flight a far superior assignment to spending several days in the cramped, trouble-prone Mercury design that had already tried to kill him once. Cooper would have been the only available alternate pilot.

More at: Mercury MA-11.

People: Schirra, Grissom. Spacecraft: Mercury.

1961 July 27-28 - .
1961 October 25 - .
1962 January - .
1962 January - .
1962 March - .
1962 April - .
1962 June 26 - .
1962 June 29 - .
1962 August - .
1962 August 8 - .
1962 August 11 - .
1962 August-September - .
By the end of 1963 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.

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