In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, the MA-1 capsule sits after reassembly. The main objectives of Mercury Atlas-1 (MA-1) were to recover the capsule and test the integrity of the Mercury capsule structure and afterbody shingles.
About one minute after liftoff MA-1 exploded and the remaining debris landed 7 miles off the Florida shore. The debris was collected and engineers attempted to reassemble MA-1 to determine the cause of the explosion.
Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).