The Mercury program was the first American attempt to launch a man into space begining with Alan Shepard. Mercury-Redstone 4 with the Liberty Bell 7 capsule on top was the fourth mission in the Mercury-Redstone series of flight tests and the second U.S. manned suborbital spaceflight. It was the next step in the progressive research, development and training program leading to the study of man's capabilities in a space environment during manned orbital flight. Each astronaut gave his capsule a nickname which was always followed by the number 7 to denote the number of qualified astronauts in the program. On July 21, 1961 Astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom spent 15 minutes and 37 seconds in flight after a grueling 3 hours and 22 minute wait on the launch pad. Gus Grissom reached a peak altitude of 118.3 miles though the incident after splashdown is mostly what is recalled with great controversy to this day. The entrance hatch had been designed with explosive charges so that an astronaut in peril could "blow the hatch" and escape quickly. Shortly after splashdown, the hatch blew causing the Liberty Bell 7 capsule to sink into 15000 feet of water. Grissom maintained that the hatch malfunctioned and blew off by itsself, Others say that Grissom blew the hatch in claustrophobic desparation. In 1999 the Liberty Bell 7 was raised from the ocean floor and the debate continues. Tragically a further redesign of emergency hatches and procedures which was partially due to the Liberty Bell 7 incident resulted in Astronauts Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee perishing after being trapped in the capsule of Apollo 1 during test procedures on the launch pad on January 27, 1967.
Estes #2167 Mercury Redstone is an approximate 1/50th scale model. We like the escape tower detail .True scale modelers would find plenty of inaccuracies here. Still it looks really sharp and we're looking forward to flying her.
some of this information was procurred from NASA