The Mercury program was America’s first foray into human space-flight. The newly-formed NASA recruited the sharpest minds in the country (and beyond) to build the capsule and yet - when shown to the men who would sit inside it for the short ride into earth orbit - it proved far from perfect.

“Where’s the windows!?” they exclaimed. “We need to see, we’re pilots! What about a hatch! How do we get out if the instruments fail?!”

The first astronauts were all test pilots, but in the windowless capsule they were little more then helpless passengers. The people who built the capsule however, were engineers. They had built computers that managed the flight plan, so saw no need for human intervention.

At the astronauts’ insistence, the additions were eventually made, one of which proved invaluable on the last mission, when instrument failure (which the engineers assured was impossible) meant the spacecraft’s position had to be checked with a peek out of the window.

Without proper planning, no project - be it a space capsule, or a website - would get off the ground. That said, trial-and-error is the secret sauce that launches it into orbit.

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