Mercury Detail Photos
I've come across a number of photos that I have not seen published anywhere. All of these were loaned to me by Louis Chinal of New York. Other than this post-flight shot of Friendship 7, they don't fit well in my missions summaries, so I've added this little page. Just click on the thumbnail to get a larger photo.
This image is extracted from a larger photo but it is a rare view of the inside of the hatch. It is from MR-3, so it is an early version. (NASA photo 61-MR3-30). On the right is a wonderful color photo of the MR-3 capsule with it's unique thick hatch. This was the photo used on the cover of the SIM #5 book.
Seat and Instrument Panel
The photo on the left is an instrument panel on a handling stand (McDonnell photo D4C-10504). I don't know anything about it, like if it was flight hardware or just a test item. I'm afraid I have not researched the specific layout and colors to determine which flight it matches. The pedastal is labelled "capsule 17", which is a later spacecraft that never flew. But you can clearly see the diferent colors used on various sections of the instrument panel.
On the right is a later version of the seat (different leg restraints as shown in the inset) (NASA photo 62-MA8-73).
Antenna Compartment and Retro Pack
These are a pair of photos of some sort of hardware display of Mercury components, apparently at the McDonnell factory in St. Louis. The photo on the left shows the antenna compartment (McDonnell photo D4C-10441). Since this component does not come back after the flights, it is seldom seen in museum exhibits. The other is simply a great shot of the retro package (McDonnell photo D4C-10438).
This photo shows a landing bag being installed on a capsule. Note the metallic straps attached to the heat shield. (McDonnell photo D4C-10441)