Limited edition heat shield segment removed from the outer perimeter section of a Mercury spacecraft, numbered 3/16, measuring approximately 1 x 1 x 1. In fine condition. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from retired NASA production controller William R. Whipkey, in full: “This section of heat shield was removed from a manned Mercury spacecraft after it completed it’s orbital mission. After recovery, the spacecraft was processed by NASA and several sections of the heat shield were removed. The sections were examined to determine their performance during the re-entry phase of the flight which heated the ablative material to temperatures exceeding 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. The fiberglass composite material clearly showed the stress of re-entry on its charred exterior surface. The accompanying artifact is an actual piece of a flown Mercury heat shield. It is unclear which manned mission it came from but it has to have been one of the four orbital missions.” A remarkable piece of aeronautic history deriving from the nascent stages of the Space Race.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.