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NASA's Mercury program was a series of manned spaceflights in the important buildup to putting man on the Moon. Spacecraft "Liberty Bell 7" flew 480km at a maximum altitude of 190km and maximum speed of 1,969m/s. The naming is because of the shape of the craft, as well as an association with the original Liberty Bell. Indeed, a "crack" was painted onto the side of the craft to add to the illusion. Of interest, the 1,286kg Liberty Bell 7 was the first Mercury craft with a centerline trapezoid-shaped window instead of two portholes.
Another innovation with this spacecraft was an explosive hatch release that allowed a rapid emergency escape. After performing its flight, Liberty Bell 7 splashed down in the ocean, although the craft subsequently sank to the bottom before it could be retrieved by helicopter. As a fitting final note, the Mercury spacecraft was salvaged 38 years later in 1999.