Mercury Redstone

ESTES Model #1921


When Gus Grissom climbed into the cockpit of his Mercury spacecraft on the morning of July 21, 1961, he was ready for an adventure. Grissom’s Mercury mission (MR-4) was the second of the series, and like Alan Shephard before him, it was a sub-orbital lob. The Redstone rocket would take Gus and his spacecraft, dubbed Liberty Bell 7, above the atmosphere, but not quite fast enough to achieve orbit. The launch was on time and perfect, as was the short period of weightless flight, and re-entry through the atmosphere. Liberty Bell 7 deployed its main parachute as expected and landed within two miles of the Navy recovery team. Gus secured the spacecraft and waited to be rescued. However, without warning, the explosive hatch blew off and the spacecraft begin to take on water. Grissom escaped but nearly drowned in his spacesuit. Liberty Bell 7 filled with seawater and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic. It was the only NASA spacecraft ever lost at sea.

The Estes Mercury Redstone is an impressive 1:34 scale model of the historic NASA spacecraft and rocket. The finished kit stands nearly 29 inches tall and features laser-cut, layered balsa fins and a molded plastic model of Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 and it’s Launch Escape System (LES). The set of detailed water-slide decals even includes the distinctive white “crack” that Gus painted onto the side of his spacecraft to make it resemble the actual Liberty Bell. This Advanced Level (formerly Skill Level 3) kit is a “must have” for all serious model rocketeers! Put this one on the flight line and countdown to launch, and watch it reach altitudes up to 200 feet on an Estes C6-3 engine. Rocket and spacecraft return together under a colorful 15 inch parachute, ready to prep and launch again.

As for the real Liberty Bell 7, in 1999 after resting silently beneath the Atlantic for 38 years, a recovery team located and raised the spacecraft from its 16,000-foot depth. Now restored, Gus Grissom’s once lost spacecraft is on display in a Kansas museum, a tribute to the memorable, early days of the U.S. space program.

Additional Information

  • Length: 28.3″
  • Diameter: 2.05″
  • Weight: 3.7 oz.
  • Recovery: 15″ Parachute
  • Fins: Laser Cut Balsa
  • Decal: Waterslide & Self Adhesive
  • Alititude: 1200′
  • Recommended Motor: C6-3


Photo Gallery

Build History

  • 05/31/2001 – Purchased Estes Mercury Redstone from Bob Gelina for $18.00 (Retail $25.99)
  • 11/099/2001 – Started construction by opening package and checking out parts. All parts present. Made slit in engine mount tube. put engine holder into slit and fixed in place with glue and retainer ring. Cemented front end of engine tube/fin cage to engine tube.
  • 11/10/2001 – Cemented capsule together. Cemented fins together. Glued engine mount/fin assembly into place. Cut out decal and applied to lower body tube where fins were attached. Glued body tubes together using a body tube coupler ring. Completed nose cone piece and set atop of body tube. Applied self adhesive decals to all but the capsule. Glued shock cord to body tube using a shock cord mount. Tied recovery cord around capsule for parachute deployment and recovery capsule.
  • 11/18/2001 – Spray painted capsule Flat Black with Walmart Color Place #20004. Cut out decals for capsule and applied self adhesive decals as shown. This completes construction of Estes Mercury Redstone model rocket #2167.


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