In the event of a landing outside the primary landing area, Mercury astronauts carried a variety of survival equipment aboard their spacecraft. These included food, water, knives, rope, matches, medical supplies, a radio transceiver, a compass, a rescue beacon, a radar reflector, a life vest, and a life raft similar to this one. This sea dye marker was part of the survival kit in Freedom 7, the first Mercury mission, in which Alan Shepard became the first American in space. It was packed in Survival Rucksack #2. If the astronaut shakes the powder into the sea, an orange trail forms on the ocean surface, making it easier to spot his raft.
NASA transferred Freedom 7 to the Smithsonian in 1962. This object was found inside the spacecraft in 1977.
Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration