Manned Space Travel

NASA's first human spaceflight program was Project Mercury. This ambitious undertaking was launched in 1958—about a year after the U.S.S.R. had signified the start of the Space Age with the successful launch of the satellite Sputnik 1.

The Mercury missions began the space race in earnest and drew upon the vast resources of the U.S. government and private sector—an estimated two million Americans contributed.