22.01.2018 in Exploratory
The Mercury Space Program


In this paper, the main area of concern is to come up with an argument concerning the United States cultural and societal situations that led to the need for and urgency of the Mercury Space Program. This will be done in accordance with the book titled The Right Stuff written by Tom Wolfe. This book was written in 1979 and is all about the engagement of pilots in United States of America during the post war experiment on the rockets that were powered and of high speed. In this book, projects of the first mercury astronauts of the space have been discussed. These were based on the extensive research services that were conducted by Wolfe in his work. In addition, it was aimed at finding out the reason as to why the astronauts and pilots accepted to take the risk that existed in the space fight.

A variety of social and cultural issues that existed in America contributed enormously to the need of having mercury space programs. As a result, this prompted Tom Wolfe to go ahead to write his book titled the right stuff. In addition, many other social and cultural factors other than those mentioned by Tom Wolfe in his book were a necessity for America to develop mercury space programs. Therefore, in this paper, issues that contributed to America development of such devises will be discussed and argued to the fullest. This is because, currently there are some issues that were not mentioned by Tom Wolfe and are urgent and contribute towards mercury space programs. This then means that such issues will have to be analyzed and discussed. Clear arguments will be given on the various points identified as being the societal or cultural in nature. In addition, the relationship that exists will be mentioned.


Project mercury refers to the first spaceflight by man in the United States of America. This was a program that lasted from 1959 to 1963 that was aimed at putting people in orbit that is around the earth. In addition, it was aimed at investigating on whether the pilots were able to function as expected of them while in the space. Ones all this had been established, the most crucial issue that was necessary was to bring back the spacecrafts and pilots safely to the earth.

Cultural and Societal situations

Some of the social and the cultural issues that contributed to the urgent development of such devises in America included; space race and the cold war, which was in the Soviet Union the United States. Space race referred to a competition in the space that existed between the Soviet Union and the United States aimed at determining the supremacy in the space exploration. In addition, between 1957 and 1975, the cold war between the two states forced United States to go ahead and struggle to implement the mercury program. This then forced them to struggle to attain the space first as they considered being necessary in ensuring security. In addition, the desire for technology superiority is yet another issue.

Space race that continued between United States and the Soviet State was aimed at becoming the first to launch the first artificial satellite in the space. In addition, it was aimed at launching the first spaceflights for human in the orbital and suborbital that surrounded the earth.  The race encouraged people to spend more on education and research which in turn lead to the advancement of scientific technologies.

During the Second World War, mercury space programs were considered extremely significant in America, as it was believed that it could be sincere and easy for the soldiers to coordinate their work. In addition, they wanted to be able to reach high altitude and traverse over long distances while analyzing the prevailing condition. They then discovered the devises that were used by Germans and then captured their intelligence. From then, they were able to improve their technologies and reach the standards of German as they were considered the best.

United States had urgency to explore the space and become pioneers; as a result, they strived to achieve their target. They worked extremely hard to ensure that the set target was met by all means that was possible for them. Bearing in mind, at the same time the Soviet Union was struggling to bit the same target. Therefore, United States did not have an option, but rather try their best and go ahead of the Soviet State.

The cold war of the United States and its counterpart the Soviet Union is yet another issue or situation. This made United States work toward urgent exploration of mercury space programs. This is because; after the Second World War, there came the issue of military tension, economic competition, proxy war, and political conflict. This then contributed to United States’ effort to discover and implement the mercury programs. The aim was to enable then to exercise their powers over Soviet Union without realizing their action.

In the cold war, it was an attempt to express the struggle that existed among the different ideologies on capitalism and even communism. It was necessary for the United States of America as they were in an uncertainty when they were denied the monopoly of the atomic bombing. This then encouraged and forced them to work towards the mercury space program exploration and implementation. During the period for the cold war between United States and the Soviet Union, it engineered to ensure coherent space for policy implementation. This was because of the varying ideologies about communism and capitalism.

The need to come up with advancement of education on issues related with the technical aspects was yet another factor that contributed. This is because; when United States realized that they had fallen below the Soviet Union in the space race, it was then necessary to train and embrace technological advancement in schools. This could ensure that the students got the necessary skills and became effective and efficient in the implementation of mercury space programs.

The desire to construct a national identity was something significant in United States that contributed a substantial share. They wanted to be identified as having the most superb technologies that are worth nothing by other nations as a whole. As a result, they could be able to win the national and global dominance as far as technology is concern. In addition, United States aimed at being the leading in technology, science, imperial holdings, and wars. This then contributed to them working urgently towards mercury space programs.

Furthermore, everyone who was a national of United States aimed at being identified with the state because of the suitable project. As a result, to be able to increase the nationalists’ identity, it was urgent for America to design the mercury space programs. This then lead to the increased competition and the resultant benefits in Americas economic, social, and even the cultural aspects.


United States have so far had considerable impacts that have resulted from the various Mercury space programs. As earlier stated by Tom Wolfe, it assisted in the militarization of the spaces whereby, the space was used for military purposes. This is abundantly clear during the Second World War and the cold war. In addition, it was possible to explore the pace and identify the various planets such as the Jupiter among other planets in the space. Improvement of the national identity was also made possible. This was because, many nationals who had an American origin could confidently identify themselves with America within and even while abroad. It was possible to embrace the importance of technical courses or subjects in the learning institutions. This is because, for one to understand such programs it is necessary to have an identifiable and clear understanding of the same. This thus means that America had qualified and superb skills that came in place.

Communism and capitalism issues that had posed a challenge and endless questions in America over years lead to the cold war. During the cold war, it was possible for United States to fight back their rivals due to the mercury space programs designed and implemented.  As a result of the mercury space programs, technological improvements have resulted in the United States. As it is necessary to have heavy and sophisticated machines capable of being used in the space. In addition, the necessary skills are required to be able to install such devises. This then means that qualified professionals were used in schools and learning institutions thus improving the nation’s knowledge available. Finally, it is a point of concern to mention that the above discussed societal and cultural situations in the United States of America’s significant role significant played in ensuring development of America. When man took a first flight in the space, in America, it was then an issue of discussion among the various nations who had not had of that before. This then contributed to increased desire to know how such happened, and the driving force to go to the space.

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