The sign accompanying the spacecraft mockup. It reads
Project Mercury: Sending Man Into Space
Mission MR-3, 5 May 1961
MR-3 was NASA's mission designation for the first American space flight
involving human beings. A Mercury-Redstone rocket
launched the first piloted Mercury spacecraft, Freedom 7,
to an altitude of 116.5 nautical miles and a range of 302 miles on 5 May 1961.
During this 14.8 minute flight, astronaut Alan Shepard reached a speed of
5,180 miles per hour and experienced a maximum of six times normal gravity
during ascent, about five minutes of weightlessness, and slightly less than
twelve times normal gravity during re-entry. Both Shepard and the
Freedom 7 capsule were recovered in excellent condition, and
Shepard was awarded the NASA Distinguished
Service Medal by President John F. Kennedy during a White House
ceremony on 8 May 1961.