The Evolution of NASA's Space Vehicles

NASA's Manned Space Vehicles

Mercury Patch

Project Mercury
1958-1963

Project Mercury

Project Mercury was NASA's first program and ran from 1959 to 1963. The goal of the program was to put a man into orbit and investigate the pilot's ability to perform tasks in space. The program was declared a success when in 1962 astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth.

Click here to see the space vehicles used in this project →

Gemini Patch

Project Gemini
1962-1964

Project Gemini

The Gemini project started on January 3, 1962 and ended in1966... It was launched into orbit that same year. The Gemini program was needed to provide support capabilities for the Apollo spacecraft. It was used for research that would later enable docking and space walks.

Click here to see the space vehicles used in this project →

Apollo Patch

Apollo
1961-1972

Apollo

The Apollo program was developed in response to President John F Kennedy's commitment to put the first man on the moon. It was chartered in 1961 and ran to 1972. It was a journey in exploration that pushed the boundaries of our knowledge in a very short time frame.

Click here to see the space vehicles used in this project →

Space Shuttle Patch

Shuttle Program
1981-2011

Space Shuttle Program

The Space Shuttle, officially designated Space Transportation System (STS), was the first reusable space vehicle and accomplished tremendous technological goals during 30 years of flying. The program ran between 1981 and 2011. The vehicle included rocket launch, orbital spacecraft and re-entry space-plane.

Click here to see the space vehicles used in this project →


The Earth gets 100 tons heavier every day due to falling space dust.