1.   INTRODUCTION

By Robert R. Gilruth, Director, NASA Manned Spacecraft Center

The second successful manned suborbital space flight on July 21, 1961, in which Astronaut Virgil I. Grissom was the pilot was another step in the progressive research, development, and training program leading to the study of man's capabilities in a space environment during manned orbital flight. Data and operational experiences gained from this flight were in agreement with and supplemented the knowledge obtained from the first suborbital flight of May 5, 1961, piloted by Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr.

The two recent manned suborbital flights, coupled with the unmanned research and development flights, have provided valuable engineering and scientific data on which the program can progress. The successful active participation of the pilots, in much the same way as in the development and testing of high performance aircraft, has greatly increased our confidence in giving man a significant role in future space flight activities.

It is the purpose of this report to continue the practice of providing data to the scientific community interested in activities of this nature. Brief descriptions are presented of the Project Mercury spacecraft and flight plan. Papers are provided which parallel the presentations of data published for the first suborbital space flight. Additional information is given relating to the operational aspects of the medical support activities for the two manned suborbital space flights.


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