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Mercury Capsule 15B, Freedom 7 II

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Display Status:

This object is on display in the Human Spaceflight exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

This Mercury capsule, number 15B, is one of two left showing the complete one-man spacecraft in its orbital configuration. It includes the silver and black retrorocket package used to slow the capsule for return to Earth and the nose section containing the parachutes. The first American in space, Alan B. Shepard, Jr., hoped to fly this Mercury capsule on a long-duration orbital mission in late 1963 called Mercury-Atlas 10 (MA-10). After the success of MA-9, flown by astronaut Gordon Cooper in May 1963, NASA decided to cancel MA-10 to concentrate on its next human spaceflight project, Gemini. Reflecting Shepard's hope of flying in space again, he had the name Freedom 7 II, in tribute to his historic 1961 capsule, Freedom 7, painted on the spacecraft.

In September 1967 NASA transferred the capsule to the Smithsonian Institution.

Collection Item Long Description:

This Mercury capsule, number 15B, is the one of only two left showing the complete one-man spacecraft in its orbital configuration. It includes the silver and black retrorocket package used to slow the capsule for return to Earth, and the nose section containing the parachutes. The first American in space, Alan B. Shepard, Jr., hoped to fly this Mercury capsule on a long-duration orbital mission in late 1963 called Mercury-Atlas 10 (MA-10). After the success of MA-9, flown by astronaut Gordon Cooper in May 1963, NASA decided to cancel MA-10 to concentrate on its next human spaceflight project, Gemini. Reflecting Shepard's hope of flying in space again, he had the name Freedom 7 II, in tribute to his historic 1961 capsule, Freedom 7, painted on the spacecraft.

Mercury capsule 15 originally was sent to Cape Canaveral in 1961 for a manned suborbital mission, Mercury-Redstone 5 (MR-5) that was cancelled. It was then modified for an orbital mission and renumbered 15A, and then modified again as a backup to the MA-9 spacecraft, #20, and as the prime spacecraft for MA-10, and dubbed 15B. In September 1967 NASA transferred the capsule to the Smithsonian Institution.

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Manufacturer

McDonnell Aircraft Corp.

Credit Line

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Materials

  • Skin & Structure: Titanium
  • Shingles: Nickel-steel alloy; Berylium shingles removed
  • Ablation Shield: Glass fibers, resin

Dimensions

Overall: 74 in. diameter, 3000lb., 11 ft. 4 in. length (188cm, 1360.8kg, 345.4cm)

See more items in

National Air and Space Museum Collection

Country of Origin

United States of America

Type

SPACECRAFT-Manned

Inventory Number

A19680241000