American Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, one of the original seven astronauts for Mercury Project selected by NASA photographed on April 27, 1959. The “Freedom 7” spacecraft boosted by Mercury-Redstone rocket for the MR-3 mission made the first manned suborbital flight and Astronaut Shepard became the first American in space.
This photo shows Shepard and Freedom 7 after recovery. A recovery helicopter that had been watching Freedom 7 lifted Shepard into the helicopter (HMM-262 Seabat), after he splashed down and came out. Both the Freedom 7 and the astronaut were then flown to the deck of the nearby recovery carrier, the USS Lake Champlain. Freedom 7, now on display in the lobby of the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center, at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, was placed there after Shepard's death in 1998.