Encyclopedia Astronautica
1963.01.10 - Mercury spacecraft No. 9A used in Project Orbit


Mercury spacecraft No. 9A was cycled through Project Orbit Mission Runs 108, 108A, and 108B in the test facilities of the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation.

These runs were scheduled for full-scale missions and proposed to demonstrate a 1-day mission capability. In otherwords, plans called for the operation of spacecraft systems according to the MA-9 flight plan, including the use of onboard supplies of electrical power, oxygen, coolant water, and hydrogen peroxide. Hardlines were used to simulate the astronaut control functions. Runs 108A and 108B were necessitated by an attempt to achieve the prescribed mission as cabin pressure difficulties forced a halt to the reaction control system thrust chamber operations portion of Run 108, although the other systems began to operate as programed. Later in 108 difficulties developed in the liquid nitrogen flow and leaks were suspected. Because of these thermal simulation problems, the test was stopped after 1 hour. Little improvement was recorded in Run 108A as leaks developed in the oxygen servicing line. In addition, cabin pressures were reduced to one psia, and attempts to repressurize were unsuccessful. The run was terminated. Despite the fact that Run 108B met with numerous problems - cabin pressure and suit temperature - a 40-hour and 30-minute test was completed.

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