On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space when he rode his Mercury spacecraft, Freedom 7, to perform a sub-orbital flight mission known as Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3).
Mercury-Redstone 3 launch covers signed by Alan Shepard.
Shepard's 15-minutes flight did not orbit Earth; it simply went up and down, attained an altitude of just over 187 kilometres.
USS Lake Champlain was selected as the prime recovery ship for America's first manned space flight.
Mercury-Redstone 3 primary recovery ship U.S.S Lake Champlain covers. The first cover was signed by Alan Shepard and NASA Public Affairs Officer Alfred P. Alibrando.