Collection Item Summary:
This hatch was attached to Faith 7, the spacecraft in which L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., made the last Mercury flight, Mercury-Atlas 9 (MA-9). Cooper made 22 orbits of the Earth on May 15-16, 1963, a mission that lasted 34 hours, nearly four times the length of previous mission. The one-man Mercury capsule had, except in its earliest versions, a hatch that was attached on the launch pad with explosive bolts. If the astronaut needed to exit the spacecraft, either on the launch pad, or after landing, he could hit a plunger that would fire the bolts and eject the hatch.
This was transferred to NASM from the NASA - Johnson Space Center in 1971, but not accessioned until 1977.