*Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a series of videos and write-ups that will use old NASA recordings and Kerbal Space Program to teach people about America’s space programs and work to inspire in people an awakened desire to explore space and push the boundaries of human knowledge and achievement.*
May 5th, 1961. Russia had already gotten a man to space, and NASA needed to act quickly in order to keep up in the Space Race. Using missile technology from the United States Air Force and a state-of-the-art capsule system NASA was able to launch Freedom 7 with Alan B. Shepard Jr. at the helm. *Freedom 7 and the other subsequent Mercury launches were all named by the astronaut; after each name they included the number 7 because they were the “original seven” astronauts.* Pre-flight checks proceed as the clock is stopped. Fuel… check. Cabin pressure… check. The clock proceeds again, and you know that every eventuality and possible issue has been worked out and compensated for. 10, 9, 8, 7, all systems go, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. Ignition.
Shepard: “Roger, liftoff and the clock has started!”
Freedom 7 performed exactly as it had in the hundreds of tests and simulations before the launch, and carried Shepard into space, making him the first American to get into space. We hope you enjoy the video! Check out the full recording from NASA at https://archive.org/details/project_mercury_freedom_7 We thank them for making such historic materials available to the public, and we hope they find our video entertaining and educational.
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