MERCURY MODEL used at MER ASTRO Press Conf in APRIL 1959
Lot 1
Sold for US$ 21,960 inc. premium
Auction Details
The Space Sale New York
16 Jul 2009 13:00 EDT

Auction 17402
Lot Details
Model of the Mercury spacecraft, steel, fiberglass and plastic, 32 inches tall when assembled and on a white-painted wood stand, with 3 major components:
1. A gray conical spacecraft, 9 by 8 inches, featuring a retro rocket package at the base of the heat shield, a 6 by 4 inch curved window showing a blue space-suited astronaut inside the pressure vessel in a form-fitting survival couch, controls next to the couch at the astronaut's fingertips; below oxygen bottles, fuel tanks, and various electronic equipment, the interior walls with outlines of the entry/exit hatch, an additional control panel, and a viewing window.
2. A cylindrical recovery compartment, 4 by 3 by 3 inches, which would hold the recovery parachute and other related equipment in the actual flight vehicle – each end with a set of three key-holes for attachment to the pressure vessel and the escape tower.
3. A capsule emergency separation device or escape tower with rockets, 18 inches long, that consists of a black metal tower assembly and a gray fiberglass rocket package with three small red nozzles, the base of the tower with three notched pegs marrying up with the recovery compartment.

Identical to the Mercury spacecraft model shown at the first public announcement of the seven pilots selected to be astronauts for Project Mercury. The press conference was held in Washington, on April 9, 1959, and was the climax of screening over 500 military test pilots beginning in 1958. During the press conference a reporter asked which astronaut was ready to go into space at that moment. All seven raised their hands and the press cameras clicked away. In that photograph, a model identical to this one is in front of the astronauts.
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