Project Mercury monument

Project Mercury monument

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This monument is located atop a time capsule dedicated to the memory of Project Mercury, the program that put the first six U.S. astronauts into space. The symbol is the astrological symbol for the planet Mercury, after which the program was named, and the numeral 7 refers to the seven men in the first class of American astronauts, who were known as the “Mercury Seven”. (The seventh, Deke Slayton, had a heart condition which was discovered late in his training, which caused NASA to ground him.) All of the manned capsules were named—by their pilots—to include the numeral 7 as well, as a symbol of solidarity and teamwork among them. The round plaque shows likenesses of all seven astronauts' faces, and the rectangular plaque reads as follows:

One of the most complext tasks ever presented
to Man in this country the achievement of
manned flight in orbit around the Earth
John F. Kennedy
Thirty-fifth President of the United States
This marker commemorates the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration's Project Mercury, which
first put free men into space. The four manned
orbital rockets, which were launched by the United States
Air Force from Complex 14, located 2200 feet east
of here, at 28° 29'27.1428" north latitude and
80° 32' 49.5107" west longitude. Contained in a capsule
herein, to be opened in the year 2464 A.D., are
technical reports of these flights.
Dedicated 1964 A.D. to the thoudands of men and
women of the free world who contributed to the
success of Project Mercury
Erected as a public service by General Dynamics Corporation

The Latin quotation—which appears on Sir Christopher Wren's tomb in Westminster Abbey, and is now commonly attributed to his son—means “If you are searching for the monument, look around you.”

The road at left leads to the actual launch complex, which we were not allowed to see.

Copyright 2011, Garrett Wollman. All rights reserved. Photograph taken 2011-02-26.