"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon, and returning him, safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more important in the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult of expensive to accomplish."(John F. Kennedy - "Special Joint Session of Congress", May 25th, 1961)
With just a few words John F. Kennedy launched one of the largest endeavors that America has ever embarked upon. The address given to congress in May of 1961 put America in a race against Russia to see who could make it to the moon first.
This was the start of the space program in America. From it came the Mercury Project with the goal to put the first man into space. The Mercury project launched 26, rockets of which only six were manned flights. The Mercury program put the first American into space on February 20, 1962.
John H. Glenn, Jr. was the first American into space. He was the first man to orbit the earth. A claim that Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space (April 12, 1961),can't make. The Russians did circle the earth in space but not in orbit.
When John Glenn took off in the Mercury-Atlas 6 rocket, named Friendship 7, he made history. It was less then one year after the challenge of John F. Kennedy to place a man on the moon. The flight lasted for only 04 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds. Still in that short time John Glenn went around earth three times, and became an American hero.
The Mercury project was finished with the launch of the Mercury-Atlas 9 rocket, named Faith 7, launched May 15,1963. Faith 7 held only one passenger, L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.. He spent 34 hours, 19 minutes, ...
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...and right now final record. They also gathered 234 pounds (110.4kg) of material form the moon. There was also the performance of the trans-Earth EVA that was done by Ronald Evans it lasted 01 hour, 06 minutes.
With the splash down of the Apollo XVII module our days on the moon ended. The last time that a man walked on the moon I was not born. There has not been a flight to the moon for over 30 years. I personally feel that this is a true tragedy. I have seen it written that if the Apollo program had continued to receive funding as it had in the early 70’s we would have a base on the moon. If so we would have unmanned lunar Modules to bring supplies to the moon. These may be dreams but as someone that has grown up in the space age I feel that we could achieve these dreams if we really wanted to. I hope that some day, before I am to old, we return to the moon.
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