May 15th, 1963 - Gordon Cooper launches aboard Mercury-Atlas 9, Faith 7, and is the last astronaut to fly to space under Project Mercury.
Faith 7’s mission was one of durability and stamina, in order to try and catch up with the Soviets, which had longer lasting missions following Yuri Gagarin’s Vostock 1, whereas the Mercury flights lasted only a few hours. (Thank you to YuriGagarinOfficial for catching my mistake!)
Gordon Cooper would orbit the Earth 22 times in a mission that lasted over 34 hours before being picked up by the USS Kearsarge in the Pacific Ocean. This would be the last time an American Astronaut would orbit the Earth solo. Cooper’s capsule, Faith 7, is currently on display at Space Center Houston.
Project Mercury would be succeeded by Project Gemini, publicly announced in January 1962.