SPACE: Lead-Footed Mercury

From a Cape Canaveral blockhouse the seven Mercury astronauts watched tensely last week as the countdown neared zero. Atop a towering Redstone rocket rested the one-ton Mercury space capsule of the type that is supposed to carry the first astronaut into orbit some time in late 1961.

Instead of soaring 200 miles out over the Atlantic as it was supposed to do, the Redstone roared a few inches into the air and then settled lumpishly back onto its launching pad. Adding to the absurdity of the scene was the wild behavior of the small "escape rocket" perched atop the Mercury capsule....

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