Project Mercury: Photos of NASA's 1st Crewed Spaceflights

Splashdown of Mercury-Atlas 8 Spacecraft


Landing with parachute extended of Astronaut Walter M. Schirra's Mercury-Atlas 8 (MA-8) capsule, called the Sigma 7, after a world orbital flight. Photo taken October 11, 1962.

Mercury Atlas 9


Technicians were performing pre-launch testing of the Mercury-Atlas 9 (MA9) on Launch Pad 14 at Cape Canaveral when this photo was taken on May 14, 1963. A day later on May 15, Gordon Cooper successfully piloted this his 'Faith 7' spacecraft for more than 34 hours and 22 orbits.

Title: Astronaut Gordon Cooper in His Mercury Spacecraft


Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper Jr.,prime pilot for the Mercury-Atlas 9 mission, inside his Mercury spacecraft runs through one of the numerous pre-flight checks surrounded by dials, switches, indicators and buttons.

Trophy for the Right Stuff


NASA Administrator James E. Webb (center) cites the space achievements of the Project Mercury Astronauts who received the 1963 Collier Trophy Award in a ceremony held at the White House on October 10, 1963. President John F. Kennedy (left) and Vice President Lyndon Johnson accompanied Webb at the ceremony. Five of the Mercury Seven astronauts are visible in the row behind James Webb. They are (starting from JFK's left): Alan Shepard, Donald "Deke" Slayton, John Glenn, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, and Scott Carpenter.

Freedom 7 Mercury Spacecraft on Display Jetzer

Alan Shepard's Freedom 7 Mercury spacecraft as it is displayed at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The capsule will soon be moving to Boston and then Washington, D.C.

Stamps Honor First American in Space, Mercury Probe

collectSPACE/Robert Z. Pearlman

U.S. Postal Service Vice President Stephen Masse, left, and Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter, right, unveil new stamps honoring first American in space Alan Shepard and NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft.

Alan Shepard and MESSENGER Stamps


The U.S. Postal Service issued on May 4 a pair of stamps for the first U.S. astronaut and the first probe to orbit Mercury.

NASA Commemorates Alan Shepard's Launch

COLLECTSPACE/Robert Z. Pearlman

NASA commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first American spaceflight, the Freedom 7 launch of Alan Shepard.

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