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On February 20th 1960, U.S astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. Piloiting the Mercury capsule “Friendship 7”, launched atop a newly up-rated Atlas rocket, he successfully made three orbits of the Earth.  The mission suffered various glitches, including thruster issues and a possible loose heat shield (which could have been fatal), but was essentially a complete success and paved the way for future American space exploration.

01 Launch.JPG 

(Base image from Wikipedia)

This particular model is in scale with the recent Lego Ideas 21309 Saturn V/Apollo rocket.  I’ve taken the scale from the Apollo command module, assuming 1 stud = 1m.

The Atlas rocket was a 1.5 stage rocket.  Unlike the Saturn V, which dropped complete assemblies of fuel-tanks and engines, the Atlas rocket jettisoned it’s two outer engines on the way to orbit.  This is possible on the model:

02 Staging.JPG 

The Mercury-Atlas comes with a separate Mercury capsule on its own display stand - this version includes a 1x1 round plate on the base to represent the retro-rocket pack.  This was used to de-orbit and return Friendship 7 to Earth, but unfortunately there isn't the space to include it on the rocket stack.  The Mercury capsule is topped by a 4.8m red escape tower, which would propel the capsule up and away from an exploding booster.  While never used on manned flights (fortunately), it saw incredibly frequent use during the Atlas rocket's early testing!  A nanofigure astronaut is included for scale… and yes, Mercury really was that tiny!!

03 Mercury.JPG 

This is a digital MOC and hasn't been tested in real life.  Comments and criticism is always appreciated - I would also welcome advice on how to build a suitable display stand.  There’s no way the rocket can stand on its engines, and not many connection points left near the base!

Edited by NathanR

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Nicely done! I see you over came the scale issues and I like the display stand for the capsule.

Are you going to make a separate thread for the Mercury Redstone design? My BrickLink orders are beginning to arrive and would like to post photos once it's ready, but as it's your design I don't want to be making credit for it.

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