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Mercury capsule patent

Jun 11, 1963

In 1963, the Mercury space capsule was patented by Faget, Meyer, Chilton, Blanchard, Kehlet, Hammack and Johnson (U.S. No. 3,093,346). The patent was assigned to NASA. The invention was described as a "manned capsule configuration capable of being launched into orbital flight and returned to the earth's surface." The invention was to provide "protection for its occupant from the deleterious effects of large pressure differentials, high temperatures, micrometerorite collisions, high level acoustical noise, and severe inertial and impact loads." The patent was applied for on Oct. 6, 1959. Mercury 1 had already flown, on May 5, 1961, in a 15-min sub-orbital flight carrying Alan B. Shepard before the patent was issued.