Having completed a "textbook" mission with Wally Schirra's flight, it was now time to go for a full day on orbit with the flight of Mercury-Atlas 9 and Gordon Cooper. But this would be the final act of Project Mercury. The project had been a complete success, but its day was done as NASA and the world moved beyond simply wondering if a human could leave the planet - and started wondering what humans - and their inventions - would do when they were there.
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