Spectacular and uncommon launch day vintage ballpoint signature, “Alan B. Shepard, Jr., 5/5/61,” on an off-white 3.75 x 3.75 blank film form. A central horizontal fold and some scattered light soiling, otherwise fine condition. After Shepard’s splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean after his 15-minute space ride, his awaiting recovery ship picked him up for an immediate postflight medical examination and free dictation by the astronaut of his initial flight impressions. From the ship, he was taken to Grand Bahama Island for an exhaustive 2-day debriefing by medical and technical personnel.
Some 32 specialists joined in the debriefing, including Project Mercury photographer Elnard G. Westberg, who was chosen as one of the primary assigned MR-3/Freedom 7/Shepard photographers and accompanied Shepard on both days (May 5-6, 1961) snapping photos of the first spaceman. Later in the afternoon of Shepard's day in space and return, Westberg had asked the Navy commander astronaut pilot for his signature. All Westberg had at the moment when asking was one of his company's printed photographic labels. He said Shepard happily autographed it for him and included the history-making day. This is the first Shepard flight-day signature we have encountered. Pre-certified Steve Zarelli and RR Auction COA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.