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Electronic Design

Washington Report: Space Program Accelerating

The space program is accelerating, with current schedules calling for 24 to 30 "major launches" per year over the next several years. In the third quarter of 1961, test flights of the Atlas-Centaur will begin. This, it is hoped, will put spacecraft weighing 8,500 lb into a 300-mile orbit. The Thor-Agena (expected to be a workhorse of the space program) and the Atlas-Agena B will come into operation for the NASA and Space program late in 1961. They will lift between 1,600 and 5,000 lb.

Early in 1961, NASA chief Glennan says, "one of the seven astronauts will be lofted about 125 miles above the surface of the earth and will land some 200 miles down range." The flight will last 16 minutes and involve five minutes of weightlessness. If successful, this will shed light on most of the space-flight problems other than re-entry. (Electronic Design, Dec. 7, 1960, p. 22)

The second paragraph contains the first reference to Project Mercury that I've noticed in Electronic Design. On May 5, 1961, Alan B. Shepard made his suborbital flight in the Freedom 7 capsule. Just three weeks later, on May 25, President John F. Kennedy, in an address to a joint session of Congress, established the goal "of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth, before the decade is out."

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