On this day in history in 1961, an important test flight leading to Americans in space was both a failure and a success.
The 1960s were the early days of America’s program to put men in space.
But before that came test flights like Mercury-Atlas 3.
Mercury-Atlas 3 didn't carry a man, but instead a robotic astronaut to simulate weight and cargo.
The rocket took off from Florida on April 25th, 1961.
Less than a minute after launch, the rocket had to be destroyed by the range safety officer.
Despite the failure, the escape rocket of worked, carrying the Mercury spacecraft to safety, and providing valuable information regardless.
Less than a month later, Alan Shepard took off in a Mercury spacecraft without a problem and became America’s first man in space.