|Mercury Capsule Configuration and Markings|
The table below is a list like on the other page but this one notes the paint and markings patterns as far I have been able to determine. This includes color patterns on the prototype capsules and the position of the UNITED STATES stenciling on the later production capsules. While there are several unique schemes (all provided in the book), there are two major versions for production capsules that I call pattern A and pattern B.
This table also helps sort out the hardware changes involving the windows and hatch. The explosive hatch design went with the overhead window. There were two capsules that had the unique thick smooth hatch, and early version of the explosively actuated hatch that was too heavy for orbital missions. The tricky part (that confused me at first) is that the capsules were flown out of sequence, so some of these supposedly late-model modifications actually flew rather early, like on Capsule 14.
I have noted that the early flights with the large overhead window had a shiny foil inner lining, while later missions had a couple of patches of dull red material. Missions where this has been verified by photographs are noted with an "f" (foil) or an "r" (red).
Thanks to Peter McQuillan, recently I have been able to sort out the Little Joe flights a little better. While I still have some questions, Peter's research has helped me sort out a lot of the LJ photos that I had a hard time identifying. I have revised this site (October 1999) per that new info.
I concede that there may still be some errors in this table, so anyone with corrections or additional details is urged to contact me. There is another page has notes on each mission with links to an image and a sketch. Your comments are always welcome. I don't claim to have all of this sorted out one hundred percent.
|LJ-6||10/4/59||BP||LJ-6, curved lettering||None||None|
|LJ-2||12/4/59||P||LJ 2. No orange?||None||None|
|BA||5/9/60||1||Unique BA||Bolted shingles||Portholes|
|LJ-5||11/8/60||3||Pattern A||Bolted shingles||Portholes|
|MR-1||11/21/60||2||Pattern A||Bolted shingles||Portholes|
|MR-1A||12/19/60||2A||Pattern A||Bolted shingles||Portholes|
|MR-2||1/31/61||5||Pattern A||Thick, smooth||Portholes|
|MA-2||2/21/61||6||Pattern A||Bolted shingles||Portholes|
|LJ-5A||3/18/61||14||Pattern A||Explosive shingles||Overhead, f|
|MA-3||4/25/61||8||Unique SC 8||Bolted shingles||Portholes|
|LJ-5B||4/28/61||14A||Pattern A||Explosive shingles||Overhead, f|
|MR-3||5/5/61||7||Pattern A||Thick, smooth||Portholes|
|MR-4||7/21/61||11||Pattern A||Explosive shingles||Overhead, f|
|MA-4||9/13/61||8A||Unique SC 8||Bolted shingles||Portholes|
|MA-5||11/29/61||9||Pattern A||Explosive shingles||Overhead|
|MA-6||2/20/62||13||Pattern B||Explosive shingles||Overhead, r|
|MA-7||5/24/62||18||Pattern B||Explosive shingles||Overhead, r|
|MA-8||10/3/62||16||Pattern B||Explosive shingles||Overhead, r|
|MA-9||5/15/63||20||Pattern B||Explosive shingles||Overhead, r|
|MA-10||15B||Pattern B||Explosive shingles||Overhead|
|MA-12, -13||15A||Pattern B?||Explosive shingles||Overhead|
|10||Pattern B?||Explosive shingles||Overhead|
|12B||Pattern B?||Explosive shingles||Overhead|
|17||Capsule is at USAF Museum in Dayton and has no UNITED STATES lettering nor US flag.||Explosive shingles||Overhead|
|19||Pattern B?||Explosive shingles||Overhead|
Note: BP = boilerplate. P = prototype, BJ = Big Joe, LJ = Little Joe, BA = Beach Abort, MR = Mercury Redstone, MA = Mercury Atlas.