Space Cover #55, Mercury Pad Abort Test
Fifty years ago this week, on May 9, 1960, NASA scored one of its few successful Mercury test flights of 1960 - the Beach Abort Test. The first production Mercury capsule (unmanned) was mounted on a rack only a few feet high at Wallops Island, VA., and the launch escape system was fired to simulate a real abort on the launch pad. The test was totally successful with the capsule splashing down just off the coast of Wallops. collectSPACE contributor Mark Gray at Spacecraft Films has posted a great video of the test.
The cover above was hand cancelled at Wallops on May 9, the day of the test. It carries a George Goldey "Goldcraft" Cachet depicting an astronaut climbing out of the forward hatch of the Mercury capsule with flotation bags deployed.
Orion is due to have its first pad abort test this week, fifty years after Mercury's pad abort test...