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Mercury Atlas 1



Mercury Atlas 1 (MA-1) was a test vehicle launch with the primary mission goals being to check the integrity of the spacecraft structure and afterbody shingles for a reentry associated with a critical abort and to evaluate the open-loop performance of the Atlas abort-sensing instrumentation system. The spacecraft was not equipped with an escape system and no test subject was on-board.

Lift-off and flight of the vehicle were nominal until 57.6 seconds into the flight. At that time, a shock was registered by both the launch vehicle and spacecraft axial accelerometers. When the shock occurred, the vehicle was at approximately 9.1 km altitude and 3.4 km down range. All Atlas telemetry was lost at 59 seconds after launch, the time at which final missile destruction was believed to have occurred. Spacecraft telemetry, however, continued to be transmitted until 202 seconds. The spacecraft was destroyed upon impact in the Atlantic Ocean, about 8 km down range. Most of the spacecraft, engines, and the liquid oxygen vent valve were recovered later from the ocean floor. None of the primary flight objectives were achieved.

Alternate Names

  • MA-1
  • MercuryAtlas1

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1960-07-29
Launch Vehicle: Atlas
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Manned Space Flight (United States)


  • Engineering

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. Edwin V. Bell, II



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail

Other Sources of MA-1 Information/Data

MA-1 information (NASA KSC)
MR-1 Press Release images (NASA JSC)

Project Mercury Drawings and Technical Diagrams (NASA History Office)

On-line version of Project Mercury: A Chronology (NASA History Office)

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