A very rare sizable flown fragment from the Mercury-Atlas 1 space capsule. Blown-out triangular-shaped fragment measures approximately 14 x 31 with its titanium inner structure visible, as well as the mineral wool insulation and nickel-chrome alloy outer skin. Fragment is housed in a 17.5 x 36 x 9.5 Lucite display case along with a small model of a Mercury capsule. In fine condition, with expected wear and damage from the capsule’s catastrophic failure. The artifact’s deformation captures the violence of a high velocity airborne breakup and subsequent impact with the sea.
The Mercury-Atlas 1 was launched on July 29, 1960. The capsule’s Atlas rocket suffered a structural failure less than a minute into the flight, and both the rocket and capsule sank into the Atlantic ocean. The capsule and portions of the rocket were recovered and reconstructed to determine the cause of the failure. The capsule, including this piece, reached an apogee of 8.7 miles and flew almost six miles down range.
RR Auction COA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.