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This set is built to the same scale as the Saturn V (1:110) and allows you to recreate the preparation and launch of either Alan Shepard's MR-3 (Freedom 7 capsule) on the 5 May 1961 or Gus Grissom's MR-4 (Liberty Bell 7 capsule) on the 21 July 1961.
The set is made up from 900 pieces. As you can see from the photos, this set can be made using existing pieces but ideally I would have liked a couple of pieces to be made in red on the platforms.
The centrepiece of the set is the Noble Company's Redstone service tower which features the four access platforms used to prepare the Mercury-Redstone for launch. The Noble company had built other similar platforms for the unmanned Redstone based rockets but this tower needed a couple of unique modifications. Platform 3 was given a semi clean room to minimise dirt and dust being brought into the capsule. Platform 4 was used to work on the launch escape tower. The rocket motors in the tower could not be made safe so Platform 4 included blast deflectors to protect personnel working on the tower.
Like the original, the base of the tower counterbalances the platforms. The platforms are moveable; sliding out to allow the rocket to be positioned so the platforms can be closed around it.
To help recreate the launch preparations the set also includes the following vehicles:
- A Redstone Booster transporter;
- A tractor and trolley for the Mercury Capsule;
- Astronaut Transfer Van (TV No.1) and Reo tractor;
- The Mobile Pad Egress Tower (Cherry Picker)
The Redstone Booster was delivered to the pad and the Service Tower's 15 Ton hammerhead crane lifted it off the transporter and onto the pad. After the Booster was checked, the Mercury Capsule was delivered to the pad and craned onto the top of the Booster.
All the platforms were opened and at T-315 minutes the Service tower was pulled back and the Booster fuelled.
At T-260 minutes the tower was brought back and platforms 2, 3 and 4 were closed.
At T-140 minutes the astronaut arrived and made his way to the white room on platform 3.
At T-60 minutes the Service tower was moved away from the rocket and the Cherry picker positioned with the platform at capsule height for the astronaut to escape from the rocket if necessary.
At T-4 minutes the Cherry picker platform was automatically lowered and remained next to the rocket.
At T-30 seconds the Capsule umbilical was dropped
At T-15 seconds the Booster umbilical was dropped
T-0 lift off
The Mercury Redstone gave a sub-orbital flight of 15 minutes with 5 minutes of weightlessness.
I hope you like this set idea – please see my other NASA submissions for a range of build ideas all at 1:110 scale.