|astronautix.com||McDonnell Project 7969|
|Project 7969 Designs|
Project 7969 ballistic designs. From left: Lockheed; Martin; Aeronutronics; Goodyear; McDonnell; Convair
Credit: (c) Mark Wade. 6,524 bytes. 640 x 110 pixels.
McDonnell's design for the Air Force initial manned space project was a ballistic vehicle resembling Faget's NACA proposal or the later Soviet Soyuz descent module. The capsule weighed 1,090 kg and would be launched by an Atlas with a Polaris second stage. The spacecraft would be placed into a 160 km orbit for a 90 minute, single-orbit mission. Tracking would use the Minitrack System and deorbit would be accomplished by retrorocket. Spacecraft attitude control was by rocket thrusters. The spacecraft was under automatic or ground control with the pilot only serving as a test subject. Maximum G-forces during re-entry were 8.5 g's and a beryllium heat sink shield was to be used. In case of booster failure during ascent to orbit the capsule would be pulled away from the booster by the Polaris second stage and then recovered by parachute. The spacecraft had a ballistic coefficient (W/CdA) of 300 kg per square meter. Landing precision was within a 650 x 650 km footprint. It was expected that a first manned orbital flight could be achieved 24 months after a go-ahead. McDonnell, prior to being awarded the Mercury prime development contract in February 1959, spent 11 further months under a company research budget working on a manned orbital spacecraft concept.
Design Life: 90 minutes. Total Length: 2.1 m. Maximum Diameter: 2.1 m. Total Mass: 1,090 kg.