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Mercury-Redstone 1 - The four inch flight (wikipedia.org)
38 points by ColinWright 1846 days ago | hide | past | web | 9 comments | favorite

A great little documenary (0:15h long) about the MR-1 launch, with an emphasis on the testing and preparation that went into the flight. Shows footage of the failed launch and the subsequent successful launch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJPy6FPWhmc

If you're only interesting in footage of the failed launch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O4V7JfeTSU

It's not just the failure itself, but the follow through of the sequence of everything else operating perfectly well in unexpected circumstances.

The Soviets had a similar disaster in 1960 that killed a lot of people (probably well over a hundred) including the head of their Strategic Rocket Forces:


For those interested, here is a neat video of a launch escape system working as intended during Soyuz T-10-1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyFF4cpMVag

It is the only time a launch escape system has actually been used.

Back in the days when our manned launch vehicles were re-purposed ICBMs (Restone, Atlas, Titan).

Many unmanned launch vehicles still are descended from re-purposes ICBMs. Atlas-V and Titan-IV are probably best viewed as "trademark compatible" -- they're so far evolved from the originals that they bear little resemblance to them -- but others such as the Soyuz launcher (descended from the SS-7 ICBM), Dnepr (formerly SS-18 "Satan" ICBM) and Shtil' (formerly R-29RM SLBM -- still launched from nuclear submarines!) all carry civilian payloads into orbit to this day.

The Russians seem to be particularly hot on recycling Soviet era ICBMs for commercial purposes. And Soyuz is indeed a man-rated launcher and currently the only crew carrying vehicle ferrying personnel to the ISS! Atop a core stage and boosters descended directly from the USSR's first monster ICBM of the 1950s.

Yup. Also, the Proton rocket (Russia's other workhorse commercial launcher) has ICBM heritage. It was an offshoot of a "super ICBM" program that never became operational. It would have been capable of launching 100 Megaton (Tsar Bomba) warheads. It ended up being obsoleted by MIRV technology and generally just being too large to be effectively deployable as an ICBM.

Oohh, that's it - in the film The Right Stuff, there is a sequence of failed launches, with an announcer counting down to ten and pulling a funny face each time a rocket fails.

At the end of the montage a parachute comically deploys with a pop and the guy mugs it up considerably.

I always wondered why they doctored the footage to produce a comic effect. - but hey - it turns out it was genuine footage... From the four inch flight.

Stunning really

I remember that scene from the book too.

Very dramatic with the Mercury Seven astronauts bravely considering the safety of the rockets they were to ride on. Indeed they had the "right stuff".

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