The 4-Inch Space Flight - Mercury Redstone 1

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Engineering the launch vehicles that allowed America to achieve suborbital flight and, eventually, land on the Moon was no easy task.

The team of Project Mercury struggled for months trying to combine military and aviation technology, facing issues that had never been dealt with before.

When the Mercury-Redstone 1 launch failed, the engineers from Project Mercury stood in silence, astounded. The rocket only made a 4-inch flight.

They had designed the launch for months, but nothing had gone according to plan. Instead, they were left with a fully-fueled rocket at risk of exploding.

The failure was incredibly demoralizing since the team had been fending off critics for months, who believed the United States would never rise to the level of the Soviet Union during the Space Race.

However, failure has been a crucial part of the learning process for American spaceflight programs.

The most important lesson learned by engineers after the failure of the Mercury-Redstone 1 is that space flight is a hard-fought game of inches.
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