This is a 1:48 scale model of the Mercury-Redstone, the launch vehicle for Project Mercury's suborbital missions. The Army's Redstone medium-range ballistic missile was selected in 1958 as the launch vehicle for these flights. It was modified in several respects and was designated the Mercury-Redstone. After several launches of unmanned Mercury spacecraft, the rocket launched America's first astronaut in space on May 5, 1961. Alan Shepard, Jr., and the Freedom 7 capsule were lifted to a height of nearly 140 miles and a range of almost 600 miles in a flight lasting a little less than 16 minutes. The rocket was used once more on July 21, 1961, when it launched Virgil Grissom on another suborbital flight. The model was built by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, which transferred it to NASM in 1971.
Gift of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center