During the period of transition from one administration to the other, the Operations Staff of Project Mercury had continued their efforts toward manned space flight. As yet, no known orbital manned flight bad been made by any country. A U.S. suborbital animal flight was scheduled for late January 1961, however, and would be followed shortly by a manned suborbital flight.
In the wake of the Wiesner report, the objectives of Project Mercury were critically reviewed by the President's Scientific Advisory Committee. This included a close look at the management of biomedical support for manned space flight.
Since the fall of 1958, when Project Mercury was announced as the first
U.S. manned space-flight program, this moment of crisis had been slowly
building in the life-sciences community both inside and out of government
circles, although it took the impact of the Wiesner report released on
January 12, 1961, to bring it to the point of explosion. A key medical
spokesman for Project Mercury later summed it up in these words:
The assessment of the Mercury biomedical program which was to take place in March 1961 would be formalized in a report submitted to the President in April. By that time significant progress had been made in Project Mercury, including the first successful suborbital flight by chimpanzee Ham.
3. Stanley C. White, "Biomedical Data Collection for Space Program," presented to First International Manned Space Flight Symposium, Unesco House. Paris. Oct. 3, 1962.