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Longest Project Mercury Spaceflight: Flight of Faith 7 1963 NASA; MA-9; Gordon Cooper -

Longest Project Mercury Spaceflight: Flight of Faith 7 1963 NASA; MA-9; Gordon Cooper por Jeff Quitney   3 anos atrás

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"Flight of Mercury-Atlas 9, carrying astronaut Gordon Cooper on the last of the manned Mercury missions. The spacecraft, Faith 7, orbited the Earth 22 times."

Originally a public domain film from the US National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

from "This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury" 1966

Thirteen seconds past 8:04, range-zero time, on the morning of May 15, 1963, Mercury-Atlas 9 lumbered upward the two inches that defined liftoff and thundered on toward its keyhole in the sky. Inside MA-9, Astronaut Gordon Cooper felt the smooth but definite push intensify as Faith 7 gained altitude faster each second. His clocks marking the moments in synchronization, Cooper shouted through the din of the afterburner behind him to Waiter Schirra, his predecessor and now capsule communicator at the Cape, "Feels good, buddy .... All systems go."

Sixty seconds upward, MA-9 initiated its pitch program, and Cooper feltthe max-q vibrations grow, but the rate gyros sensed greater lateral oscillations than the pilot did. Six or seven swings from peg to peg on his instruments, and the flight smoothed out. Two minutes and 14 seconds upward Cooper heard "a loud 'glung' and then a sharp, crisp 'thud' for staging" as booster engines cut themselves out and off. Then away flew the needless escape tower, and at three minutes after launch cabin pressure sealed and held while Cooper reported, "Faith Seven is all go."

The Atlas sustainer engine continued to accelerate, and its guidance system performed perfectly for two more minutes before SECO. Faith 7 and "Sigma 7" swapped remarks on the sweetness of the trajectory. Schirra, at the point of Cooper's orbital insertion and capsule separation, said, "Smack dab in the middle of the go plot. Beautiful." And Cooper replied, after turning around on the fly-by-wire, "Boy, oh, boy.., working just like advertised!"

...Beginning with his third orbit, the astronaut checked over the 11 experiments in which he was to participate. He prepared to eject a six-inch-diameter sphere, equipped with polar xenon strobe lights, that was to test his ability to spot and track a flashing beacon in a tangential orbit. At three hours and 25 minutes elapsed time, Cooper clicked the squib switch and heard and felt the beacon kick away. But, try as he might, he could not see the flashing light in the dusk or on the nightside during this round. On the fourth orbit, however, he did spot the beacon at sunset and later saw it pulsing. So he knew he had indeed launched a satellite from his satellite. Cooper jubilantly reported to Carpenter on Kauai, "I was with the little rascal all night."

...But he was not through yet. On orbits 17 and 18 he took infrared weather photographs of good quality and a few excellent moonset Earth-limb pictures. Meanwhile, he resumed the geiger counter measurements for radiation, continued his aeromedical duties, and adjusted his television monitor at the request of ground observers...

On the twenty-first pass (over the tracking ship Coastal Sentry), John Glenn helped Cooper prepare a revised checklist for retrofire procedure during the next, and last, time around. Only Hawaii and Zanzibar were within voice radio range on this last circuit, but communications were good. When the ASCS inverter blew out, Cooper also noted that the carbon dioxide level was rising in both his suit and cabin. "Things are beginning to stack up a little" was his classic understatement to Carpenter, and then Zanzibar heard him say he would make a manual reentry.

Twenty-three minutes later Cooper came into contact with Glenn again, reporting himself in retroattitude, holding manually, and with checkoff list complete. Glenn gave the 10-second countdown, and Cooper, keeping his pitch down 34 degrees by his window reticle, shot his retrorockets manually on the "Mark!"

Glenn reported: "Right on the old gazoo .... Dealer's choice on reentry here, fly-by-wire or manual . . . It's been a real fine flight, Gordo. Real beautiful all the way. Have a cool reentry, will you."

"Roger, John. Thank you."

And that he did. All the complicated, crowded events of the next 15 minutes occurred precisely as planned, while Faith 7 plummeted down through the atmosphere...


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