Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) Space Capsule "Freedom 7"

Mercury MR-3 Freedom 7 Space Capsule

Manufacturer: McDonnell Aircraft Corportation, Founded 1939

Materials: Aluminum alloys, beta cloth, Velcro, nylon, RTV rubber, PVC, titanium, beryllium, glass, Rene 41 (Nickel-chromium alloy)

This space capsule was manufactured by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. The Mercury capsule is constructed of a titanium inner structure with a layer of mineral wool insulation and an exterior cladding of nickel-chrom alloy (Rene 41) stamped shingles covering the lower cone section.  Beryllium shingles cover the top cylinder which housed the parachutes.  The bottom of the capsule shows the cast-titanium heat shield.  There is a  periscope on the exterior of the capsule.  The exterior is painted in white  with the marking "Freedom 7" and "United States".

On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space in the Mercury capsule.  He named it Freedom 7, the number signifying the seven Mercury astronauts; NASA called the mission Mecury-Redstone 3 (MR-3).

On loan from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC until December 2015