Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 7

Mercury 8

Sigma 7


Patch Mercury 8 Mercury project patch

Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  03.10.1962
Launch time:  12:15:11.84 UTC
Launch site:  Cape Canaveral
Launch pad:  LC-14
Altitude:  161 - 283 km
Inclination:  32.56°
Landing date:  03.10.1962
Landing time:  21:28:22 UTC
Landing site:  32°05'30" N, 174°28'30" W

walkout photo

Walter Schirra

hi res version (566 KB)

alternative photo


No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Schirra  Walter Marty, Jr. "Wally"  Pilot 1 09h 13m 10s 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Schirra

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Cooper  Leroy Gordon, Jr. "Gordo"  Pilot
Gordon Cooper

hi res version (772 KB)


Launch vehicle:  Atlas-D No. 113D (58-7108)
Spacecraft:  Mercury (No. 16 / „Sigma 7“)


The launch was originally scheduled for September 28, 1962, but was delayed due of a malfunctioning fuel control valve. Launch from Cape Canaveral; landing about 275 miles northeast of Midway Island (for the first time in the Pacific Ocean).

Walter Schirra performed several tests needed for longer, more complex flights. He first took photos during a spaceflight with a Hasselblad camera, and he checked the manual-proportional mode of the spacecraft control, although the capsule had an automatic stabilization and control system that was used for most of the time, including a drifting flight. He also made a night-yaw maneuver, experimental star observations and a small test to know the effects of microgravity on orientation. A dialogue between Walter Schirra and CapCom John Glenn could be listened via radio and television by much of the Western world.

All in all, it was a nearly perfect mission, only a malfunctioning system at the beginning, when telemetered signals showed an unexpected clockwise roll that was quite soon controlled and stabilized. Some problems at the beginning of the mission with the heat in the spacesuit of Walter Schirra also occurred, but the temperature became more comfortable with time.

The landing was only 4.5 miles (7.2 km) from the recovery ship USS Kearsarge.

Photos / Graphics

Mercury spaceship Mercury spacecraft
Mercury spacecraft Mercury control panel
Mercury 8 integration Mercury 8 rollout
Schirra boarding Mercury 8 launch
Earth observation Earth observation
Mercury 8 landing Mercury 8 recovery
Mercury 8 recovery  


Last update on August 11, 2020.