Mercury - Redstone


Redstone as used for the suborbital Mercury missions

Mercury-Redstone 3 lifts off carrying astronaut Alan Shepard in the first U.S. manned sub-orbital flight on 5 May 1961
credit to NASA
Scanning credit to Kipp Teague

Redstone - Mercury

The Redstone is a single stage launch vehicle. It was developed as a short range ballistic missile for nuclear warheads. It was selected for manned spaceflights because of its reliability record. Its design was based on Werner von Brauns' V-2. As with the V-2, the direction of the thrust could be controlled by steerable vains mounted directly beneath the engine nozzle where the engines' exhaust gases could be deflected.

The Redstone was not powerful enough to bring a man into orbit. Instead several suborbital flights or ballistic flights have been made amoung which two were manned. The first one was flown by Alan Shepard and became therefore the first american who went into space. His flight only took about 15 minutes but it gave NASA enough confidence to persue its course towards more ambitious spaceflight missions.

Exterior and Interior

Exploded view

Mercury-Redstone launch vehicles



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Copyright 2005 by Sander Panhuyzen
Comments and questions are welcome. All pictures and drawings contained on and through these pages are the author's, unless otherwise noted. No unauthorized reproduction without permission.