The American manned space program is on a tight schedule if it wants to place an astronaut in orbit before the Soviets. The Communists already have a striking lead. They had it three years ago when they launched the first Sputnik, and they've maintained it with the recent Sputnik 5, which featured two Muttniks, who were returned safely to Earth after an orbital flight.
It may well be that, as I write this, the Soviets will already have put a man in space.
NASA is moving at as brisk a pace as they can manage while doing their best to guarantee the safety of our spacemen. I can only imagine the frustration and impatience of the seven Mercury Astronauts, who were picked a year and a half ago as they cool their heels watching the test program play out.
So far, we've seen several low altitude launches of the Mercury spacecraft (Little Joe). There has been a test of the Atlas orbital booster )Big Joe). But there had yet to be an all-up suborbital test of the Mercury-Redstone, mimicing the first few missions that will be flown.
Until the day-before-yesterday.
(read the rest at Galactic Journey!)