The unmanned Mercury-Redstone 1 launch guest on November 21, 1960, as its escape tower was jettisoned.
Image: NASA.

On this date in 1960, an attempt was made to launch the unmanned Mercury-Redstone 1 (MR-1) from Cape Canaveral, marking a highly visible ‘low point’ in the Mercury program. After ignition, the main engine cut off almost immediately, lifting the rocket only about four inches; it settled back on the pad with only slight damage. The Launch Escape System rocket then flew off the top of the capsule, and the recovery parachute ejected, only to drop to the ground.