Mercury-Redstone 1A (MR-1A) was the first test of the Mercury capsule-Redstone launch vehicle configuration, and the first recovery of a production-line Mercury spacecraft that had been flown in space. Launched on 19 December 1960, Mercury capsule #2 flew a suborbital trajectory to an altitude of 212 km (131 mi.), parachuting into the ocean 15 minutes and 45 seconds later. It was the first successful test of the Mercury-Redstone launch vehicle. The mission had been rechristened 1A after an unsuccessful MR-1 launch attempt on 21 November in which the vehicle only rose a few centimeters, the engine cut off and the rocket settled back on the launch ring, resulting in the capsule firing the escape tower and ejecting the parachutes. The capsule was refurbished and placed on a new Redstone for the MR-1A attempt.
In 2003 NASA transferred the capsule to the Smithsonian Institution.
Shingles: Nickel-steel alloy; Beryllium shingles removed
Ablation Shield: Glass fibers, resin