USA 1961 Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) - Freedom 7

Project Mercury was the first U.S. program for human spaceflight. It ran from 1959 through 1963, with the objectives of putting a manned spacecraft in orbit around the Earth, investigate man's ability to function in space, and to recover both man and spacecraft safely on return to Earth.

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.