On May 5, 1961, Alan B. Shepard Jr. soared into history. Crammed into this Mercury Space Capsule that he named Freedom 7, Shepard became the first American to travel in space. The capsule was blasted into suborbital flight in a mission that laid to rest any doubts that an astronaut could function as a pilot in space. Shepard assumed control of this spacecraft for a portion of his fifteen-minute flight, while remaining in almost constant communication with Project Mercury Mission Control.
Freedom 7’s mission was a milestone along the course charted by President Kennedy to make the United States the world leader in space exploration.