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. Reflecting 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.
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 (although it does lack its posigrade
rockets), but there are a total of five Mercury spacecraft which were
manufactured but not flown.