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Uploaded on Mar 6, 2007
Place a man into earth orbit, observe his reactions to the space environment and safely return him to earth to a point where he could be readily found. The Mercury flight plan during the first orbit was to maintain optimum spacecraft attitude for radar tracking and communication checks.
Mission Successful. First American in orbit. Total time weightless 4 hours 48min 27sec.
During the flight only two major problems were encountered: (1) a yaw attitude control jet apparently clogged at the end of the first orbit, forcing the astronaut to abandon the automatic control system for the manual-electrical fly-by-wire system; and (2) a faulty switch in the heat shield circuit indicated that the clamp holding the shield had been prematurely released- a signal later found to be false. During reentry, however, the retropack was not jettisoned but retained as a safety measure to hold the heat shield in place in the event it had loosened.