(Everyone knows that Robert “The Rocket Man” Condit became the first person to go into space on June 5th, 1951. What's less well know is that this was not
his first attempt. Long before his series of post-war rocket tests for NACA that ended up with his suborbital flight in 1951 on board the “Lucky Lindy,” and even before WWII and his stint with the U.S. Army's “Long-Range Rocketry Research Committee,”Condit tried to reach not just space, but another planet!
The following article appeared in the Baltimore Sun Magazine just three months after the successful landing on Mars of the spaceship “John Carter...”)
With a “successful” flight behind him (it actually flew, if erratically, and neither exploded nor killed him. For 1920s rocketry, that counts “a success...”), Condit stays in the rocket game, eventually being picked up to do research for the Army during WWII. Following V-J day, his research is moved over to NACA, NASA's predecessor, and in 1951 he managed to get them to agree to send him up in a suborbital test flight of his “space capsule” using an under-fueled “Aphrodite” ICBM prototype from Consolidated Vultee Aircraft.