Project Mercury Mission Insignia
Project Mercury was the first American human spaceflight program. It consisted of 6 manned flights from 1961 to 1963. The first flight of project Mercury was MR-3, also known as Freedom 7. It carried Alan Shepard to fame as the first American in space on May 5, 1961. On February 20, 1962, John Glenn became the first American in orbit aboard Friendship 7, mission MA-6. The Mercury program came to a close on May 15, 1963 with the launch of Gordon Cooper in MA-9, also known as Faith 7. The Mercury program laid the groundwork for upcoming missions such as Project Gemini and the Apollo program.