In this image, President John F. Kennedy, right, awards NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal to astronaut Shepard in a Rose Garden ceremony on May 8, 1961, at the White House. In the background are the other members of the Mercury Seven, NASA’s original astronauts.
Shepard’s Freedom 7 Mercury capsule flew a suborbital trajectory lasting 15 minutes 22 seconds. His spacecraft landed in the Atlantic Ocean where he and his capsule were recovered by helicopter and transported to the awaiting aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lake Champlain.
Image Credit: NASA