NASA spacecraft, "Freedom 7," will be leaving the Naval Academy at the end of February, bound for the [URL=http://www.jfklibrary.org/]John F. Kennedy Memorial Library[/URL] in Columbia Point, Boston, Mass.
Credit: heroicrelics.com/Mike Jetzer
The space capsule first arrived at the Naval Academy on Dec. 15, 1998. Since then, it has been on display to the public in the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center
. The Visitor Center is open 9-4 p.m., January through February; and 9-5 p.m., March through December.
Mercury-Redstone 3 was the first manned space mission of the United States. Astronaut Rear Adm. Alan Shepard, a Naval Academy graduate of the Class of 1945, piloted a 15-minute Project Mercury suborbital flight of the Freedom 7 spacecraft on May 5, 1961, to become the first American in space.
The Naval Academy has produced 52 astronauts — more than any other college or university in the nation.