National Geographic : 1961 Sep
HS EKTACHROMEBY NATIONALGEOGRA PH OI OGRAYPHt DUANLUNtGE FORNASA Shepard Receives NASA's Distinguished Service Medal From the President Laughter at the White House stems from an executive slip. Mr. Kennedy dropped the medal, then quipped: "This decoration has gone from the ground up." Shepard, a Navy commander, is the second person to win the medal. NASA, also gave it to its Director of Aeronautical and Space Research, John W. Crowley, Jr., on his retirement in 1959. see the water covering one porthole, I could see the yellow dye marker out the other porthole, and later on, I could see one of the helicopters through the periscope. The capsule righted itself slowly, and I began to read the cockpit instruments for data purposes after impact. I found very little time for that, since the helicopter was already calling me. I made an egress as shown in the training movie; that is, I sat on the edge of the door sill until the helicopter sling came my way. [The audience which heard Shepard read his report had seen a film showing this method of getting out of the capsule.] The hoist it self was uneventful. At this point, I would like to mention a device that we use on our pressure suits that gives watertight integrity. There is a soft rubber cone attached to the neck ring seal of the suit. When the suit helmet is on, this rubber is rolled and stowed below the lip of the neck ring seal bearing. With the helmet off, this collar or neck cone is rolled up over the bearing and against the neck of the pilot where it forms a watertight seal. The inlet valve fitting has a locking flapper valve. 444 [The neck cone fits like the collar of a turtle neck sweater, and the inlet valve locks to prevent water intake.] Thus the suit is water proof and provides its own buoyancy. The helicopter took me to the aircraft car rier Lake Champlain, where the preliminary medical and technical debriefing commenced. Since no serious physiological defects were noted, only an immediate cursory examina tion was necessary.... I went from the carrier to Grand Bahama Island, where I spent the better part of two days in combined medical and technical de briefings. A great deal of data was gathered. ... It appears profitable to provide a location where a debriefing of this sort can be accom plished.... In closing I would like to say that the par ticipants in Project Mercury are indeed en couraged by the pilot's abilities to function during the ballistic flight which has just been described.... The Space Task Group is also encouraged by the operation of the spacecraft systems in the automatic mode, as well as in the manual mode. We are looking forward to more flights in the future, both of the ballistic as well as the orbital type.