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This is an authentic, first-hand, eye-witness' historic account of the recovery of the First U. S. Manned Space Flight made by Alan B. Shepard Jr. on May 5, 1961.

This account details the role the USS Lake Champlain CVS-39 played as the recovery vessel. Many of the images supporting the account are unique, personal, and are not found elsewhere.

PICTURE:__After the Marine helicopter disembarked Astronaut Shepard on the flight deck of the USS Lake Champlain CVS-39 on May 5, 1961, he walked back to the Mercury 7 capsule that had been placed on the receiving platform. He checked the interior of the capsule and retrieved his helmet before turning to face the NASA representatives. Shepard then began walking back up the flight deck where the NASA reps guided him down the deck-edge ladder to be debriefed in the Admiral’s in-port cabin.

Shepard’s movements on the flight deck were observed by thousands of the ship’s crew, but few were closer than ‘Cubby’ Culberson, one of the USS Lake Champlain’s senior Flight Deck Directors, seen here in the yellow jersey with his arms folded.

As can be seen from this color image, the weather for the space flight was perfect. Note that the capsule has been tied down on the platform. The capsule rests on officer style mattresses on a wooden platform designed by LTJG Charles Moroney of R Division. The capsule was chocked up with wood beams to prevent the seabag from being pinched between the capsule and the ablation heat shield.

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  • 34
  • Missions
  • Jan 1, 2010
  • English

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