This commemorative patch marks the Mercury Redstone 3 mission of May 5, 1961, the first human spaceflight by an American. In this mission, a Mercury-Redstone rocket boosted Alan B. Shepard, Jr. in his Freedom 7 capsule to an altitude of almost 188 kilometers and a distance of almost 500 kilometers down range from Cape Canaveral. The mission proved to the world that the United States could safely perform human spaceflight, just a little less than four weeks after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.
Although the first NASA mission patch was created for Gemini V in 1965, designs for earlier missions were created retroactively to allow collectors and the public to commemorate all of NASA's human spaceflights. This patch was made by an unknown manufacturer for commercial sale.
It was donated to the National Collection by Mance Clayton in 1982.
Gift of Mance Clayton