Space History Photo: Mercury Spacecraft Boilerplate

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Langley technicians manufacture the Boilerplate Mercury spacecraft in 1959. (Image credit: NASA/Chris Cohen.)

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, the Boilerplate Mercury spacecraft is being manufactured "in-house" by Langley technicians. The capsules were designed to test spacecraft recovery systems. The escape tower and rocket motors shown on the completed capsule would be removed before shipping and finally assembly for launching at Wallops Island.

Design of the Little Joe capsules began at Langley before McDonnell started on the design of the Mercury capsule.

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

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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: