Space History Photo: Project Mercury Retro and Posigrade Package

space history, Mercury
The Mercury vehicle prepared for re-entry. (Image credit: Paul Riedel )

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, the Retro and Posigrade Package for the Mercury spacecraft is fitted on Sept. 16, 1960. This was used to de-orbit the spacecraft at the end of mission.

The National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) was a precursor to NASA. The NACA was created by Congress in 1915.

Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).

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U.S. Space Agency

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Founded in 1958, NASA is a civilian space agency aimed at exploring the universe with space telescopes,  satellites, robotic spacecraft, astronauts and more. The space agency has 10 major centers based across the U.S. and launches robotic and crewed missions from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida. It's astronaut corps is based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. To follow NASA's latest mission, follow the space agency on Twitter or any other social channel, of visit: nasa.gov