Mercury-Atlas 4, Carrying Robot, Set to Launch into Orbit this Week

Aug. 19, 1961 - A Mercury capsule called Mercury-Atlas 4 (pictured) carrying robot devices that breathe, perspire, and talk is scheduled to be launched into orbit from Cape Canaveral, Fla., this week. Plans call for bringing it back to earth after just one orbit and recovering it from the Atlantic east of Bermuda. If the flight should be successful, it would greatly increase the nation's chances of achieving its first manned orbital flight by the year's end. There is one additional step, however, the the U.S. plans to take between an unmanned and a manned orbital mission. Before risking a man's life, it intends to complete at least one successful flight with a chimpanzee. This flight will last for three orbits.

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