Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mercury MA-9A


Crew: Cooper. Planned Mercury six-orbit mission. Canceled and NASA moved directly to an 18-orbit mission due to astronaut shortage and change in concept (flights no longer used just to train astronauts). Backup crew: Shepard.

NASA's Mercury orbital operations plan of July 19, 1961 had four spacecraft equipped for three-orbit flights (SC13, SC16, SC18, and SC19) and four for one day/eighteen-orbit flights (SC20, SC15B, SC12B, and SC10). Manned 3-orbit missions would take place every 60 days after Glenn's flight during 1962. The four one-day capsules would be flown in 1963. This would give all seven Mercury astronauts experience in orbital flight prior to Gemini.

Despite delays due to technical problems and weather this plan was followed on the first three orbital flights: Mercury MA-6 (Glenn/SC13), MA-7 (Carpenter/SC16) and MA-8 (Schirra/SC19). However by Schirra's flight he seven-astronaut corps was down to four - Glenn, Carpenter and Slayton were off the flight roster (Glenn on President Kennedy's orders because he was a national icon; Carpenter because he had screwed up; and Slayton on medical grounds). So even thought the flight-ready SC19 had been delivered to Cape Canaveral on March 20, 1962, the decision was taken to cancel the remaining short-duration mission and move directly to an 18-orbit mission. Cooper was the only astronaut not yet to fly and would have been the pilot for the original MA-9.

AKA: Faith 7.
First Launch: By the end of 1962.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Shepard Shepard, Alan Bartlett Jr 'Al' (1923-1998) First American in space. Flew on Mercury MR-3, Apollo 14. Grounded due on medical grounds during Gemini, but reinstated, becoming fifth person to walk on the moon. Millionaire entrepreneur on the side. More...
  • Cooper Cooper, Leroy Gordon Jr 'Gordo' (1927-2004) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on Mercury MA-9, Gemini 5. First American to spend over a day in space. High spirited, and reportedly denied an Apollo assignment. More...

See also
Associated Programs
  • Mercury Mercury was America's first man-in-space project. Setting the precedent for the later Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs, any capsule configuration proposed by the contractors was acceptable as long as it was the one NASA's Langley facility, and in particular, Max Faget, had developed. McDonnell, at that time a renegade contractor of innovative Navy fighters that had a history of problems in service, received the contract. The capsule had to be as small as possible to match the payload capability of America's first ICBM, the Atlas, which would be used for orbital missions. The resulting design was less than a third of the weight of the Russian Vostok spacecraft, and more limited as a result. More...

Mercury MA-9A Chronology


By the end of 1962 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D Mercury s/n 77D.
  • Mercury MA-9A (cancelled) - . Call Sign: Faith 7. Crew: Cooper. Backup Crew: Shepard. Payload: Mercury SC19. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Kennedy; Cooper; Shepard. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-9A. Spacecraft: Mercury. NASA’s Mercury orbital operations plan of July 19, 1961 had four spacecraft equipped for three-orbit flights. However by Schirra’s flight the seven-astronaut corps was down to four. So even thought the flight-ready SC19 had been delivered to Cape Canaveral on March 20, 1962, the decision was taken to cancel the remaining short-duration mission and move directly to an 18 orbit mission.

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