Amazing Vintage Space Photos Show Earth From Orbit
Vintage shots of the colourful surface of the earth from space uncovered by Nasa, as the space agency gets nostalgic over its early efforts at crewed flight.
Nasa's Project Mercury aimed to send a crewed spacecraft into orbit around Earth, to test how humans function in space and to successfully achieve re-entry with all crew alive and well.
The photos taken during the missions between 1961 and 1963, include shots from the first first crewed Mercury flight on May 5 1961.
Many shots come from the Freedom 7 spacecraft, piloted by Alan Shepard, on a suborbital test flight. Shepard landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean, delivering the United States first crucial human spaceflight experience.
Two chimpanzees took part in the Mercury flights. Chimpanzee Ham who endured a suborbital flight on 31 January 1961. Enos, another chimpanzee, went into space on November 1961 for two orbits.
These shots from the height of the cold war illustrate a time when space exploration was a crucial front, and tensions between the Russian and US space agencies were high.
Finally on February 2 1962 John Glenn orbited the Earth in his Mercury spacecraft Friendship 7, and eventually on July 21 1969, Neil Armstrong took those first famous steps on the Sea of Tranquility.