NASA initiated Project Mercury in 1958 and completed it in 1963. The objectives of this project, which made six manned flights from 1961-1963, were to orbit a manned spacecraft around Earth, investigate man's ability to function in space and to recover both man and spacecraft safely. Freedom 7 was America's first attempt to rocket a man into space. Astronaut, Alan Shepard braved the 15 minute suborbital flight. On February 20, 1962, John Glenn achieved the first American attempt to orbit the Earth. Gordon Cooper successfully evaluated the effects of one day in space on the Faith 7 during its 34 hour flight.