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Recovery of the Mercury MR-3 Freedom 7 space capsule

Recovery of the Mercury MR-3 Freedom 7 space capsule

A Marine helicopter recovers Astronaut Alan Shepard and the Freedom 7 capsule from the Atlantic Ocean to carry them to a waiting aircraft carrier, May 5, 1961

Courtesy NASA

Engineers who examined the capsule after the flight found it to be in excellent shape and determined that “it could easily be used again;” doctors examined Alan Shepard and likewise concluded that the astronaut “could be used again, too.” Ten years later, Shepard commanded the Apollo 14 mission, and became the fifth person to walk on the Moon.

NASA