Phenomenal hand-painted McDonnell Aircraft model of the Faith 7 capsule presented to Mercury-Atlas 9 mission Pilot Gordon Cooper. The model measures 13″ tall and roughly 7.5″ wide, features the Faith 7 insignia below the hatch door, and "United States" and an American flag on opposing sides; two pegs jut from either side of the model for display purposes. Also included is the orange launch escape tower and rocket, 18″ in length, with missing ballast and cone to rocket, and the original wooden display stand, 10 x 14 x 6, with an engraved silver plaque, "To L. Gordon Cooper, From 28,000 friends at McDonnell who were with you in spirit during the 22-orbit flight of Faith 7, 15 May 1963." Three pegs used to attach tower to capsule are absent. In very good to fine condition, with some scuffs and chips to capsule, and notable paint loss to lower heat shield section; the stand and tower also bear slight scuffs and wear.
The Faith 7 capsule was designed for fully automatic control, but it experienced power failure during the 19th orbit. Cooper’s understanding of star patterns became essential as he took manual control of the tiny capsule and successfully estimated the correct pitch for re-entry into the atmosphere. He needed to be precise in his calculations because the g-forces could exceed human tolerance if he came in too steep, but if the trajectory were too shallow the capsule would shoot out of the atmosphere and back into space. His natural piloting skill and exhaustive training allowed him to make Mercury-Atlas 9 a successful flight. Presented to the last pilot of the Mercury program, as well as the first American to spend more than 24 hours in space, this incredible model intimately represents the pioneering spirit of NASA's first and finest explorers.
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