Liberty Bell 7 Spacecraft

Liberty Bell 7 also had a new explosive hatch release. This would allow an astronaut to exit the spacecraft quickly in the event of an emergency. Emergency personnel could also trigger the explosive hatch from outside the spacecraft by pulling on an external lanyard. Both the pop-off hatch and the lanyard are standard features of ejection seats used in military aircraft, but in the Mercury design, the pilot still had to exit the craft himself, or be removed by emergency personnel. The original exit procedure was to climb out through the antenna compartment, after removing a small pressure bulkhead. This was a difficult and slow procedure. Removal of an injured or unconscious astronaut through the top hatch would be nearly impossible. The original side hatch was bolted shut with 70 bolts and covered with several spacecraft shingles, making it a slow process to open the original hatch.