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Main Parachute Segment

Mission: Mercury-Redstone 3
Freedom 7
  Crew: Alan B. Shepard, Jr.
Launch: May 5, 1961  
Landing: May 5, 1961  
Duration: 15 min, 28 seconds  
Comment: First American manned space flight

NASA telemetry technician Harold French cut this fabric swatch from the 63-foot, main recovery parachute that lowered Freedom 7 and Alan Shepard to a splashdown in the ocean. Hoisted and hung in a hangar bay for several days after the flight, those involved with Project Mercury (including French) cut off sections as souvenirs. A typed, signed letter by French attests the swatch's flight history.

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