Mercury Aeromedical Flight Controllers


To support Project Mercury, an impressive team of medical specialists was assembled to monitor the health of the man in space.

Many of the Aeromedical Flight Controllers (often called Aeromeds or Flight Surgeons) were deployed to the remote tracking stations and ships for each mission. Of particular concern was the first manned orbital flight, with the effects of spaceflight on the human body not well established.

For the early missions, both Muchea and Woomera (Red Lake) tracking stations had two Aeromedical Flight Controllers – one American, and one Australian.

At Muchea, Sq. Ldr. Warren J. Bishop of the Royal Australian Air Force was joined by the U.S. Navy’s Capt. Edward L. Beckman.

At Woomera (Red Lake), Australian Dr. John Charles Lane was joined by Lt. Col. Edwin L. Overholt.


Mercury Aeromeds

This photo shows the Project Mercury
Aeromedical Flight Controllers’ Training Class, NASA Space Task Group, Langley Field, Virginia, May 1960.

With special thanks to Dr. Edwin M. Overholt.

Red Lake

Here’s the above photo, with a key added to help with identification.

Click image for a larger jpg version, or here for an 18MB two-page PDF file (with the key on the first page and the original image on the second).


Here’s a list of the Flight Surgeons stationed at Muchea and Woomera during Project Mercury. Thanks to Gene Kranz and Dr Edwin L Overholt for help with identification.

Updated Jan 2021 with the name of Fritz Holstrom at Muchea (info from TIB Vol 1 No 1.)


At Woomera (Red Lake)

Red Lake

Dr John Lane (RAAF Flight Surgeon) and Dr Edwin L Overholt (NASA Flight Surgeon). More on this page.

Lt. Col. Edwin L. Overholt – No. 2 in the group photo.

Mercury Aeromeds

Lt. Col. Edwin L. Overholt, while serving in the US Army.
Read about his service in Japan and Korea at Wisconsin Central.

Photo courtesy Dr. Edwin M. Overholt.

Mercury Aeromeds

Edwin L. Overholt when Director of Medical Education at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Photo courtesy Dr. Edwin M. Overholt.

Mercury Aeromeds

A certificate recognising Lt. Col. Overholt’s contribution to the success of Friendship 7.

With special thanks to Dr. Edwin M. Overholt.

Mercury Aeromeds

Dr. Edwin M. Overholt, one of Lt. Col. Overholt’s sons, writes,
“The only tracing I’m certain of is his EKG which is the middle one.”, however he suggests –

1. Respiration trace
2. EKG
3. Audio of heart sounds

Recorded at Woomera during the flight of Friendship 7.


Dr John C. Lane – No. 13 on the group photo.

Mercury Aeromeds

Dr. John Lane is second from the left, in the back row, in this excerpt from the 1960 Aeromedical Flight Controllers’ training class.

His colleague at Woomera, Dr. Edwin L. Overholt, is second from the left in the front row.

Dr John Lane is regarded as the father of Australian Aviation medicine, as well as being a pioneer in road safety.

Read about Dr. Lane in this tribute at The Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine (PDF file. Archived copy here.).


At Muchea

Mercury Aeromeds

In this image, NASA Flight Surgeon Capt. Ed Beckman USN and RAAF Flight Surgeon Sq. Ldr.Warren Bishop conduct a mission simulation the Muchea Aero-medical console.

Frame from WRE film taken around the time of MA-5, the flight of Enos the Chimp, November 1961.


Capt. Edward L. Beckman, U.S. Navy – No. 37 in the group photo.

Sq. Ldr. Warren J. Bishop, RAAF – No. 30 in the group photo.

Warren Bishop had a distinguished career in the Royal Australian Air Force, based at Point Cook in Melbourne,
and later became a general practitioner in the Canberra suburb of Farrer.


Mercury Aeromeds

Friendship 7, 21 February (Australian time) 1962.

RAAF Flight Surgeon Warren Bishop with US Flight Surgeon Ed Beckman and Capcom Astronaut Gordon Cooper in the Muchea Control Room after John Glenn’s successful flight.

Photo with thanks to Mrs. Joy Hendley-Jensen. Dr Ed Beckman was a family friend, and Mrs. Hendley-Jensen donated this photo and others to the CDSCC / Tidbinbilla archives. Thanks to Glen Nagle for the scan.

See other photos in this set.


Lt. Comdr. Frank N. Austin, Jr., U.S. Navy – No. 17 in the group photo.



The Flight Control Team during Scott Carpenter's flight, Aurora 7 (MA-7) 24 May 1962. Top to bottom:

Dan Hunter, NASA Systems
Astronaut Deke Slayton, Capcom
Bob Ernull (Assistant Capcom?)
Lt. Comdr. Frank N. Austin, USN, Aeromedical Monitor
Sq. Ldr. Warren J. Bishop, RAAF, Aeromedical Monitor.

Photo with thanks to Mrs. Joy Hendley-Jensen.

See other photos in this set.