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Mercury Redstone 1

NSSDCA ID: MERCR1

Description

Mercury Redstone 1 (MR-1) was the first scheduled flight of the Mercury capsule mated to the Redstone booster. The objectives of MR-1 were to: (1) qualify the spacecraft-booster combination for the Mercury-Redstone mission which included attaining a Mach number of approximately 6.0 during powered flight, a period of weightlessness of about five minutes, and a deceleration of approximately 11 g on reentry; (2) qualify the posigrade rockets; (3) qualify the recovery system; (4) qualify the launch, tracking, and recovery phases of operations; and, (5) qualify the Automatic Stabilization and Control System (ASCS), including the Reaction Control System (RCS).

Launch of MR-1 was attempted on 21 November 1960, but after rising a few inches from the pad, the engines cut off and the rocket settled vertically back on the launcher. The termination of thrust resulted in the escape tower being jettisoned, but the spacecraft did not separate from the booster due to g-load sensing requirements not being met. However, because the barostats properly sensed the altitude as being less than 10,000 feet, the drogue, main, and reserve parachutes were released in the proper sequence.

The failure of MR-1 was determined to be due to the power and control connectors not disconnecting simultaneously. The power plug disconnected 29 ms prior to the control plug, permitting part of a 3 amp current (which normally would have returned to ground via the power plug) to pass through the relay for "normal cut-off" and its ground diode. This proved the need for all electrical connections to be grounded prior to launch. A ground strap was added for subsequent launches.

The Mercury capsule was refurbished and mated to a new launch vehicle to be launched as Mercury Redstone 1A (MR-1A).

Alternate Names

  • MR-1

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1960-11-21
Launch Vehicle: Redstone
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States

Funding Agency

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

Discipline

  • Engineering

Additional Information

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

 

Selected References

Grimwood, J. M., Project Mercury: A chronology, NASA, SP-4001, Wash., D.C., 1963.

Other Sources of MR-1 Information/Data

MR-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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