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The sign accompanying Friendship 7 II. It reads


Mercury Capsule 15B Friendship 7 II

This Mercury capsule is the only one of two left showing the complete spacecraft in its orbital configuration. It includes the silver and black retrorocket package used to slow the capsule for return to Earth, and the nose section containing the parachutes.

Alan B. Shepard Jr., the first American in space, hoped to fly this Mercury capsule on a long-duration orbital mission in late 1963 called Mercury-Atlas 10 (MA-10). After the success of MA-9, flown by astronaut Gordon Cooper in May 1963, NASA cancelled MA-10 to concentrate on its next human spaceflight project, Gemini. Refleting Shepard's hope of flying in space again, he had the name Freedom 7 II painted on the spacecraft in tribute to his historic 1961 capsule, Freedom 7.

Transferred from NASA

Length:2.9 m (9 ft. 4 in.)
Diameter, heat shield: 1.9 m (6 ft. 1 in.)
Weight:2,555 lb (1158.8 kg)
Manufacturer:McDonnell Aircraft Corp.
  A19680241000


I'm not entirely certain what is meant by "the only one of two left showing the complete spacecraft in its orbital configuration." This spacecraft is certainly the only one with its retropack and antenna fairing (although its retropack does lack its posigrade rockets), but there are a total of five Mercury spacecraft which were manufactured but not flown.

 
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Time picture taken Mon Jun 18 13:42:46 2007
Location picture taken Ground Level
James S. McDonnell Space Hangar
Udvar Hazy Center
Chantilly, VA
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