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Project Mercury

The Space Race began with a shock to the American public when the Soviet satellite Sputnik was launched in 1957.
United states created NASA accelerate U.S. space exploration efforts and launched the Explorer 1 satellite in 1958.
The Soviet Union was first again when it puts the first human, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, into a single orbit on April 12, 1961. Shortly after this, on May 5, the U.S. launched Alan Shepard, on a suborbital flight and reached its orbital goal on February 20, 1962, when John Glenn made three orbits around the Earth in the Mercury capsule.
The Mercury space capsule was a pressurized cabin produced by McDonnell Aircraft and carried supplies of water, food, and oxygen for about one day. Mercury was launched on a top of modified Atlas D ballistic missiles.
The capsule was fitted with a launch escape rocket to carry it safely away from the launch vehicle in case of a failure. Small retrorockets were used to bring the spacecraft out of its orbit, after which an ablative heat shield protected it from the heat of atmospheric reentry. Finally, a parachute slowed the craft for a water landing. Both astronaut and capsule were recovered by helicopters deployed from a U.S. Navy ship.
The Mercury project missions were followed by millions on radio and TV around the world. Its success laid the groundwork for Project Gemini, which carried two astronauts in each capsule and perfected space docking maneuvers essential for manned lunar landings in the Apollo program announced just a few weeks after the first manned Mercury launch.
Mercury Project Madison County Alabama
275 Media in collectionpage 1 of 3

Mercury Project

A Mercury-Redstone launch vehicle awaits test-firing in the Redstone Test Stand during the late 1950s. Between 1953 and 1960, the rocket team at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama performed hundreds of tes... more

Mercury capsule and escape system on top of a booster

This photograph shows the installation of a Mercury capsule and escape system on top of a booster prior to test firing of the Mercury-Redstone at Marshall Space Flight Center's (MSFC's) Redstone Test Stand. Ass... more

Project Mercury, 1959-1963

Image Credit: NASA..Description Less than a year after its birth, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency announced its first astronaut class, the Mercury Seven, on April 9, 1959. Project Mercury proved that ... more

Little Joe (LJ6) Launch

Description: Launching of the LJ6 Little Joe on October 4, 1959 took place at Wallops Island, Va. This was the first attempt to launch an instrumented capsule with a Little Joe booster. Only the LJ1A and the L... more

Shadowgraph Images of Re-entry Vehicles

These four shadowgraph images represent early re-entry vehicle concepts. A shadowgraph is a process that makes visible the disturbances that occur in a fluid flow at high velocity, in which light passing throug... more

Mercury Project

In this 1959 photograph, technicians prepare tail sections for Mercury-Redstone vehicles in Building 4706 at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. Developed by Dr. Wernher von Braun and the rocket team at Re... more

Mercury Project

This photograph depicts installation of the Mercury capsule and escape system on top of a booster prior to test firing of the Mercury-Redstone launch vehicle at the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Mercury Project

Dr. Wernher von Braun, Director of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency's (ABMA) Development Operations Division, poses with the original Mercury astronauts in ABMA's Fabrication Laboratory during a 1959 visit. In... more

Project Mercury: M-1 model in the 11ft w.t. with engineer ARC-1959-A-24777

Project Mercury: M-1 model in the 11ft w.t. with engineer

Mercury Project - L. Gordon Cooper, Jr

Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., one of the original seven astronauts for Mercury Project selected by NASA on April 27, 1959. The MA-9 mission, boosted by the Mercury-Atlas launch vehicle, was the last flight o... more

Mercury Project

Astronaut Walter M. "Wally" Schirra, one of the original seven astronauts for Mercury Project selected by NASA on April 27, 1959. The MA-8 (Mercury-Atlas) mission with Sigma 7 spacecraft was the third marned or... more

Mercury Project - original seven astronauts

The group portrait of the original seven astronauts for the Mercury Project. NASA selected its first seven astronauts on April 27, 1959. Left to right at front: Walter M. Wally Schirra, Donald K. Deke Slayton, ... more

John H. Glenn - Mercury Project

Astronaut John H. Glenn, one of the original seven astronauts for Mercury Project selected by NASA on April 27, 1959. The MA-6 mission, boosted by the Mercury-Atlas vehicle, was the first manned orbital launch ... more

Mercury Project

Astronaut Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, one of the original seven astronauts for Mercury Project selected by NASA on April 27, 1959. The MR-4 mission, boosted by the Mercury-Redstone vehicle, made the second marned ... more

NASA Photographer Prepares to Film a Mercury Capsule

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) photographer Arthur Laufman sets up a camera to film a Mercury capsule that was constructed by the Lewis Research Center staff. Lewis engineers and mechanics... more

Astronaut Scott Carpenter during centrifuge training

B59-00570 (August 1959) --- Astronaut Scott Carpenter trains at the centrifuge procedures trainer at Wright Field, Johnsville, Pennsylvania, for project Mercury. Photo credit: NASA

Mercury Capsule Construction at the NASA Lewis Research Center

A NASA mechanic secures the afterbody to a Mercury capsule in the hangar at the Lewis Research Center. The capsule was one of two built at Lewis for the “Big Joe” launches scheduled for September 1959. The init... more

Big Joe capsule leaves its launching pad - Mercury Project

An Atlas launch vehicle carrying the Big Joe capsule leaves its launching pad on a 2,000-mile ballistic flight to the altitude of 100 miles. The Big Joe capsule is a boilerplate model of the marned orbital caps... more

Personnel - Astronaut Scott Carpenter - Centrifuge

B59-00723 (1959) --- Close-up of astronaut M. Scott Carpenter, prime pilot for the Mercury-Atlas 7 (MA-7) mission, during centrifuge training. (M-199) Photo credit: NASA

Mercury Capsule Model in the 1- by 1-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) researchers install a small-scale model of the capsule for Project Mercury in the 1- by 1-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel at the Lewis Research Center. NASA Lewi... more

Artistic View of Mercury Astronaut Training

This composite image includes a photograph of pilot Joe Algranti testing the Multi-Axis Space Test Inertia Facility (MASTIF) inside Altitude Wind Tunnel at NASA’s Lewis Research Center with other images designe... more

John Glenn in the Mercury Procedures Trainer

(1960) John H. Glenn, one of the Mercury Seven Astronauts, runs through a training exercise in the Mercury Procedures Trainer at the Space Task Group, Langley Field, Virginia. This Link-type spacecraft simulato... more

Mercury-Atlas 1 Launch

(July 29, 1960) The uncrewed Mercury-Atlas 1 spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral on July 29, 1960. MA-1 was the first attempt to launch the Mercury capsule. The mission failed just under a minute after laun... more

Mercury Project - Installation of the Mercury capsule

Installation of the Mercury capsule on Redstone booster at the Redstone Test Stand. Assembled at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), the Mercury-Redstone launch vehicle was designed to place a marned space... more

Mercury astronauts participate in survivial training

S88-31375 (1960) --- Although more easily recognized in their spacesuits, these seven men are actually NASA astronauts participating in a U.S. Air Force survival school at Stead Air Force Base in Nevada. The or... more

Mercury Project - The Little Joe launch vehicle for the LJ1 mission

The Little Joe launch vehicle for the LJ1 mission on the launch pad at the wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, on January 21, 1960. This mission achieved the suborbital Mercury cupsule test, test... more

Mercury Project - The launch of the Little Joe booster for the LJ1B mission

The launch of the Little Joe booster for the LJ1B mission on the launch pad from the wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, on January 21, 1960. This mission achieved the suborbital Mercury capsule ... more

Project Mercury Escape Tower Rockets Tests

A Mercury capsule is mounted inside the Altitude Wind Tunnel for a test of its escape tower rockets at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Research Center. In October 1959 NASA’s Spac... more

Mercury Capsule Retrorocket Test in the Altitude Wind Tunnel

A mechanic at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Research Center prepares the inverted base of a Mercury capsule for a test of its posigrade retrorockets inside the Altitude Wind Tun... more

SCHIRRA, WALTER, JR., ASTRONAUT - TRAINING - CENTRIFUGE - PA

G60-02461 (1960) --- Astronaut Walter M. Schirra Jr. prepares to enter gondola of centrifuge which is used to test gravitational stress on astronauts training for spaceflight. Schirra became the pilot of the Me... more

Astronaut John Glenn - Egress Training Activity - Langley AFB, VA

B60-00285 (1960) --- Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr., pilot of the Mercury Atlas 6 spaceflight, emerges from an egress trainer during training activity at the Langley Research Center. He is attempting to transfer o... more

Mercury 1A Mission - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 1A flight. A clock face is visible in the top left of the photo. Film type was 70mm Dupont Cronar. Categories: Earth Observatio... more

Mercury 1A Mission - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 1A flight. A clock face is visible in the top left of the photo. Film type was 70mm Dupont Cronar. Categories: Earth Observatio... more

Mercury 1A Mission - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 1A flight. A clock face is visible in the top left of the photo. Film type was 70mm Dupont Cronar. Categories: Earth Observatio... more

Mercury 1A Mission - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 1A flight. A clock face is visible in the top left of the photo. Film type was 70mm Dupont Cronar. Categories: Earth Observatio... more

Mercury 1A Mission - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 1A flight. A clock face is visible in the top left of the photo. Film type was 70mm Dupont Cronar. Categories: Earth Observatio... more

Mercury 1A Mission - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 1A flight. A clock face is visible in the top left of the photo. Film type was 70mm Dupont Cronar. Categories: Earth Observatio... more

The Launch of Mercury-Redstone

(May 5, 1961) The launch of the Mercury-Redstone (MR-3), Freedom 7. MR-3 placed the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard, in suborbit on May 5, 1961...UID: SPD-MARSH-6100884

Little Joe 5B High-Q-Abort Test

(April 28, 1961) "Little Joe" 5B launched a Mercury spacecraft in a high-Q-abort test. The ring-sail parachute lands the spacecraft off the shore of Wallops Island, Virginia. The Little Joe rocket boo... more

Shepard With Freedom 7 Capsule

(May 5, 1961) Alan B. Shepard, Jr., America's first astronaut, stands in front of the Freedom 7 spacecraft shortly after completion of the third flight of the Mercury-Redstone (MR-3) vehicle, May 5, 1961. Durin... more

Ham Launch

Full Description: (January 31, 1961) Mercury-Redstone 2 (MR-2) Launch with chimpanzee Ham aboard. Monkeys had been flown into space before, but Ham was the first higher primate to test a spacecraft...Image # : 61C-1012

Failed Attempt to Recover Liberty Bell 7

(July 21, 1961) After the hatch "Liberty Bell 7" opened prematurely, gallons of seawater entered the spacecraft. A helicopter recovery team attempted to empty the water, as seen in this photo. Seconds... more

Ham, a three-year-old chimpanzee - Mercury Project

Ham, a three-year-old chimpanzee, in the spacesuit he would wear for the second Mercury- Redstone (MR-2) suborbital test flight in January, 1961. NASA used chimpanzees and other primates to test the Mercury cap... more

Original Mercury Astronauts - Col. John A. (Shorty) Powers

S61-00246 (25 July 1961) --- Photo of the original Mercury astronauts with Col. John A. (Shorty) Powers seated around a table talking to the news media. From left to right are: L. Gordon Cooper, Donald K. Sla... more

Mercury Redstone 3 imagery

JSC2007-E-046476 (1961) --- Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., one of three NASA astronauts chosen for the Project Mercury first manned suborbital flight, prepares for testing in a capsule of the U.S. Navy's centri... more

Jupiter-C, the first American Satellite, Explorer 1 launcher

This is a comparison illustration of the Redstone, Jupiter-C, and Mercury Redstone launch vehicles. The Redstone ballistic missile was a high-accuracy, liquid-propelled, surface-to-surface missile. Originally d... more

ASTRONAUT GRISSOM, VIRGIL I. - MERCURY SPACECRAFT - EGRESS TRAINING

S61-03885 (26 April 1961) --- Astronaut Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom, wearing the new Mercury spacesuit, stands outside of a mock-up of the Mercury capsule on the deck of a ship taking him to emergency water egress ... more

A three-year-old chimpanzee, named Ham - Mercury Project

A three-year-old chimpanzee, named Ham, in the biopack couch for the MR-2 suborbital test flight. On January 31, 1961, a Mercury-Redstone launch from Cape Canaveral carried the chimpanzee "Ham" over 640 kilomet... more

Mercury Project Alan Shepard

Astronaut Alan Shepard fitted with space suit prior to the first marned suborbital flight. Freedom 7, carrying Astronaut Alan Shepard, boosted by the Mercury-Redstone launch vehicle, lifted off on May 5, 1961. ... more

S62-00992 (1961) --- Mercury astronaut John Glenn looks into a Celestial Training Device (globe) during training in the Aeromedical Laboratory at Cape Canaveral, Florida. s62_00992

S62-00992 (1961) --- Mercury astronaut John Glenn looks into a Celestial Training Device (globe) during training in the Aeromedical Laboratory at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Celestial Training Device MA-7

S61-04621 (1961) --- Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter looks into a Celestial Training Device (globe) during training in the Aeromedical Laboratory at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photo credit: NASA

Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter in the cockpit of a T-106

M61-00017 (10 Jan. 1961) --- Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter on flight line with a F-106. Photo credit: NASA

Mercury Redstone II mission - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 2 (MR-2) flight. The flight number (MR-2) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone II mission - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 2 (MR-2) flight. The flight number (MR-2) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone II mission - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 2 (MR-2) flight. The flight number (MR-2) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone II mission - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 2 (MR-2) flight. The flight number (MR-2) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone II mission - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 2 (MR-2) flight. The flight number (MR-2) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Project chimpanzee Ham

A three-year-old chimpanzee, named Ham, in the biopack couch for the MR-2 suborbital test flight. On January 31, 1961, a Mercury-Redstone launch from Cape Canaveral carried the chimpanzee "Ham" over 640 kilomet... more

Mercury Project - The launch of the Mercury Atlas (MA-2)

The launch of the Mercury Atlas (MA-2), an unmarned suborbital Mercury capsule test on February 24, 1961.

MERCURY CAPSULE - WATER EGRESS TRAINING

S61-03256 (13 Sept. 1961) --- Recovery of Mercury spacecraft at end of the Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) mission. Notice the extended antenna on top of the capsule. Photo credit: NASA

Mercury-Redstone Booster Development vehicle (MR-BD) - Mercury Project

The Mercury-Redstone Booster Development vehicle (MR-BD) lifts off from Cape Canaveral March 24, 1961. This test flight evaluated changes incorporated in the booster designed to reduce vehicle oscillations and ... more

Mating of Little Joe 5B vehicle with Mercury Capsule #14

S61-01673 (23 April 1961) --- View of the mating of Little Joe-5B launch vehicle with Mercury capsule #14. Photo credit: NASA

Mercury capsule mock-up suspended from ship during water egress training

S61-03941 (26 April 1961) --- A mock-up of the Mercury space capsule is held suspended above the water aboard the ship that is taking astronauts Grissom and Glenn to their emergency water egress training. Photo... more

Astronaut Virgil Grissom in new Mercury Space Suit during egress training

S61-03893 (26 April 1961) --- Astronaut Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom, wearing the new Mercury spacesuit, poses for a picture during emergency egress training activities at the Florida Space Center. He is seen standi... more

SUIT - MERCURY-3 (MR-3) - GLOVES - COMPONENTS

S61-02733 (28 July 1961) --- Table top view of some of the Mercury suit components including gloves, boots and helmet. Photo credit: NASA

Mercury Redstone III flight - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 3 (MR-3) flight. The flight number (MR-3) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone III flight - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 3 (MR-3) flight. The flight number (MR-3) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone III flight - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 3 (MR-3) flight. The flight number (MR-3) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone III flight - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 3 (MR-3) flight. The flight number (MR-3) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone III flight - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 3 (MR-3) flight. The flight number (MR-3) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone III flight - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 3 (MR-3) flight. The flight number (MR-3) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone III flight - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 3 (MR-3) flight. The flight number (MR-3) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone III flight - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 3 (MR-3) flight. The flight number (MR-3) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone III flight - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 3 (MR-3) flight. The flight number (MR-3) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Redstone III flight - Earth Observations

The original caption reads: Earth Observations taken during the Mercury Redstone 3 (MR-3) flight. The flight number (MR-3) and a mag or frame number are visible at the top right and center of the photo. A clock... more

Mercury Project Mercury-Redstone (MR-3), Freedom 7

The launch of the Mercury-Redstone (MR-3), Freedom 7. MR-3 placed the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard, in suborbit on May 5, 1961.

Mercury Project Madison County Alabama

Dr. von Braun addresses a crowd celebrating in front of the Madison County Alabama Courthouse following the successful launch of Astronaut Alan Shepard (America's first astronaut in space) into space on a Mercu... more

View of Astronaut Alan Shepard inside the Freedom 7 capsule

S88-31374 (29 April 1961) --- A close-up of astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. in his space suit with his helmet on inside the Mercury capsule. He is undergoing a flight simulation test with the capsule mated to the... more

Astronaut Alan Shepard removing space suit on U.S. Champlain after recovery

S88-31382 (5 May 1961) --- Astronaut Alan B. Shepard receives assistance in removing his spacesuit while on the U.S. Champlain after the recovery of his Mercury capsule. Photo credit: NASA or National Aeronauti... more

Mercury Redstone 3 imagery

JSC2007-E-046477 (5 May 1961) --- Launching of the Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) spacecraft from Cape Canaveral on a suborbital mission -- the first U.S. manned spaceflight. Original image number was 61-MR3-74. Pho... more

Astronaut Alan Shepard onboard helicopter after recovery of Mercury capsule

S88-31383 (5 May 1961) --- Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) pilot, jokes with doctors while in-flight between the U.S. Navy Carrier Champlain and the Grand Bahama Islands. Shepard is the... more

Mercury Project recovery

This photo depicts the recovery operations of the MR-3 mission. Astronaut Alan Shepard was picked up by a U.S. Marine helicopter after the completion of the first marned suborbital flight by MR-3 (Mercury-Redst... more

Mercury Project Alan B. Shepard, Jr.

Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. during suiting for the first manned suborbital flight, MR-3 mission. The Freedom 7 spacecraft, carrying the first American, Astronaut Shepard and boosted by the Mercury-Redstone l... more

Mercury Project - Freedom 7 spacecraft

Alan B. Shepard, Jr., America's first astronaut, stands in front of the Freedom 7 spacecraft shortly after completion of the third flight of the Mercury-Redstone (MR-3) vehicle, May 5, 1961. During the 15-minut... more

Mercury Project Astronaut Alan Shepard physical examination

Astronaut Alan Shepard underwent a physical examination prior to the first marned suborbital flight. Freedom 7 carrying Astronaut Alan Shepard, boosted by the Mercury-Redstone launch vehicle, lifted off on May ... more

Astronaut Alan Shepard on U.S. Champlain after recovery of Mercury capsule

S88-31380 (5 May 1961) --- Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., strides across the deck of the U.S. Navy Carrier Champlain following an inspection of his Freedom 7 capsule. Shepard had just completed the first manne... more

Astronaut Alan Shepard inspects his capsule on U.S. Champlain after recovery

S88-31384 (5 May 1961) --- Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) pilot, is pictured near his Freedom 7 capsule during a postflight inspection aboard the U.S. Navy Carrier Champlain after the... more

Mercury Project Freedom 7 Mercury

Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. awaits liftoff in the Freedom 7 Mercury spacecraft on May 5, 1961. This third flight of the Mercury-Redstone (MR-3) vehicle, developed by D. Wernher von Braun and the rocket team ... more

Mercury Project Freedom 7 Mercury spacecraft

Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. lifts off in the Freedom 7 Mercury spacecraft on May 5, 1961. This third flight of the Mercury-Redstone (MR-3) vehicle, developed by Dr. Wernher von Braun and the rocket team in H... more

Mercury Project - recovery of the Freedom 7 (MR-3) capsule by a U.S. Marine helicopter.

This photo depicts the recovery of the Freedom 7 (MR-3) capsule by a U.S. Marine helicopter. The MR-3 mission successfully placed the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard, in space for 15-1/2 minutes and retu... more

Astronaut Alan Shepard - U.S.S. Champlain - Post-Recovery Mercury Capsule

S61-02727 (5 May 1961) --- Astronaut Alan B. Shepard is seen on the deck of the USS Lake Champlain after the recovery of his Mercury capsule in the western Atlantic Ocean. Shepard and the Mercury spacecraft des... more

Mercury Redstone 3 imagery

JSC2007-E-046478 (5 May 1961) --- Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. is rescued by a U.S. Marine helicopter at the termination of his suborbital flight May 5, 1961, down range from the Florida eastern coast. Origina... more

Mercury Redstone 3 imagery

JSC2007-E-046479 (5 May 1961) --- Crew members of the U.S. Navy Carrier Champlain cheer and take pictures of the arrival of the first Project Mercury pilot to fly a suborbital flight, astronaut Alan B. Shepard ... more

Astronaut Alan Shepard is rescued by helicopter at end of MR-3 flight

S88-31376 (5 May 1961) --- Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., pilot of the Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) suborbital spaceflight, is retrieved by a helicopter from the USS Lake Champlain during recovery operations in th... more

Mercury Redstone 3 Rescue Flight

JSC2004-E-19882 (5 May 1961) --- Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. is rescued by a U.S. Marine helicopter at the termination of his suborbital flight May 5, 1961, down range from the Florida eastern coast. Photo credit: NASA

Astronaut Alan Shepard receives MASA Distinguished Service award

S88-31387 (8 May 1961) --- President John F. Kennedy (left) congratulates NASA's Distinguished Service Medal Award recipient astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. in a Rose Garden ceremony on May 8, 1961, at the White ... more

Astronaut Alan Shepard receives MASA Distinguished Service award

S88-31388 (8 May 1961) --- Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. (center), along with wife Louise, waves to a crowd outside the U.S. Capitol building. Shepard, Mercury-Redstone 3 astronaut, had earlier briefed Congress... more

Astronaut Alan Shepard recieves NASA Distinguished Service Award

S67-19572 (8 May 1961) --- Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. receives the NASA Distinguished Service Award from United States President John F. Kennedy May 8, 1961, days after his history making MR-3 flight. Shepar... more

Astronaut John Glenn inspecting interior of Mercury capsule

S61-03744 (July 1961) --- Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr., backup astronaut for MR-4, inspects the interior of a Mercury spacecraft on Pad 5. He is reviewing material on the checklist he is holding against the cons... more

Astronaut John Glenn - Blood Draw - Training - Cape

S61-02579 (1961) --- Astronaut nurse Delores B. O'Hara, R.N., in the Aeromedical Laboratory at Cape Canaveral, Florida, takes a blood sample from Mercury astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. Photo credit: NASA