National Geographic : 1962 Feb
of data about his flight around the world." With NASA's cooperation and the friendly assistance of the Western Electric Company, which supervised installation of the stations, Bob and I explored the Mercury range. Island-hopping in three oceans and span ning three continents, we saw an astonishing variety of topography and landscape, from the rain-swept peaks of Hawaii and the soft pink beaches of Bermuda to the gravel strewn outback of Australia; from the mud city of Kano, Nigeria, and the clove trees of Zanzibar to the sun-blasted coral speck in the South Pacific called Canton Island. Electronic Wizards Plot Space Path We were constantly amazed by the elec tronic wizardry of the range. Here is some of the world's most accurate radar gear. Super clocks synchronize timing around the net work to an accuracy of one five-thousandth of a second. Computers in seconds can calcu late and plot the orbit of a spacecraft halfway around the globe. The range represents a diplomatic triumph as well. In Washington Dr. Dryden told us of the painstaking negotiations that resulted in agreements to permit our tracking stations on foreign soil. "We went to great lengths to make clear that Mercury stations are purely for scientif ic, nonmilitary purposes," he explained. With cooperation of the five foreign na tions signing the agreements, the network was completed under heavy pressure in just two years at a cost of more than $75,000,000. At its peak the project employed a thou sand workmen, many of them local laborers using primitive tools and carrying dirt in bas kets on their heads. It transported supplies ranging from structural steel to gold-plated electronic tubes the size of pigeon eggs. Construction and staffing of the range has transplanted hundreds of Americans, some to island paradises, a few to posts so lonely that six months is regarded as a long tour. When the astronaut's stainless-steel Atlas bursts from the sands of Cape Canaveral, it Missile age archer with homemade bow and cane arrows patrols the Project Mercury track ing station at Kano, Nigeria. Audu, aHausa tribes man, stands beneath an antenna that receives telemetry signals, channels of radio data about the performance of capsule and passenger. His teeth bear red stains from chewing kola nuts. Poised on a Cushion of Flame, an Ice-coated Rocket Carries a Chimp Aloft From this launching platform at Cape Canaveral, Enos, a five-year-old chimpanzee, be gan his two-orbit leap around the earth last November 29. Secure in a pressurized, air conditioned cradle in his black Mercury capsule, Enos seemed undismayed by three hours of weightlessness. To win banana-flavored pellets and sips of water, he calmly flipped levers in response to colored lights. Flaming vernier rocket on the side of Mer cury-Atlas No. 5 helps adjust its speed and direction. On September 13, the first Mercury capsule to orbit the earth (MA-4) carried aloft a "canned man," a black box that breathed and gave off heat as would an astronaut. HS EKTACHROMEBY NASA (OPPOSITE) AND KODACHROMEBY ROBERTF. SISSON, NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSTAFF © N.G.S.