keywords: nasa, space program, space race, project mercury, astronaut, mercury seven, mercury 7, alan shepard
Synopsis: Project Mercury, first American astronaut in space. Mercury-Redstone 3 was the first manned space mission of the United States. Astronaut Alan Shepard piloted a 16-minute flight in the spacecraft Freedom 7 on May 5, 1961 to become the first American in space... (read more)
Shows rocket launches carrying scientific payloads to unlock the secrets of space. This film documents the Project Mercury from concept of the Mercury spacecraft to the launch vehicle to the training of America's first astronaut to be launched into space. Clips of test firing of rocket motor and splash test of Mercury capsule, close-up images of interior of Mercury spacecraft, astronauts in zero gravity flights, astronaut in centrifuge, other astronaut training devices.
Images of the construction of the Mercury spacecraft. Shows recovery of spacecraft in which the chimpanzee Ham flew and the chimpanzee being checked after recovery. Shows the Redstone launch rocket and Mercury capsule being prepared for launch. Spacecraft lifted and mated to Redstone rocket at launch tower. Shows preparation being made by recovery forces and tracking stations. Aerial view of Mercury 7 launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Alan Shepard undergoes a final physical examination.
Close-up of Alan Shepard in spacecraft final seconds of countdown, during liftoff, and in-flight. Audio of the communications between Astronaut Shepard and ground control throughout the 16-minute flight. Shows recovery of spacecraft by helicopter and return to flight deck of recovery ship. Shows Alan Shepard exiting spacecraft on deck of aircraft carrier Lake Champlain (CV-39) and taking a telephone call from the President.