A Space Portfolio

Each of the 26 flights that the U.S. has sent into space up through Apollo 16 is represented here, from the first Mercury launch in 1961 through the two-man Gemini series in the mid-‘60s to Apollo’s successful assault on the Moon:

(The missing flight numbers – for example, Mercury 1 and 2 – represent missions that were unmanned tests).


(a) Alan Shepard aboard Mercury 3 spacecraft just before the first U.S. suborbital flight.
(b) Mercury 4 on the pad a few days before it carried Virgil Grissom into space.
(c) New York welcomes John Glenn, accompanied by wife and Vice President Johnson, after first U.S. earth-orbiting mission in Mercury 6.
(d) Scott Carpenter awaits pickup in Pacific after landing 250 miles off target in Mercury 7.
(e) Mercury 8`s Wally Schirra takes a joyful postflight stretch on carrier deck.
(f) Navy recovery team picking up Gordon Cooper and his Mercury 9 spacecraft.


(g) Grissom and John Young preparing to board Gemini 3.
(h) Ed White takes first U.S. spacewalk during flight of Gemini 4.
(i) Gemini 5 lifts off from the Cape.
(j) A view of Gemini 7 from Gemini 6 during the first rendezvous in orbit.
(k) Frogmen attaching flotation collar to Gemini 6, which was belatedly launched after Gemini 7.
(l) Agena target rocket with which Gemini 8 completed first space docking.
(m) A balking protective shroud on another Agena that to Gemini 9’s Tom Stafford looked like “an angry alligator”.
(n) Gemini 10’s Young and Michael Collins.
(o) A view of Indian subcontinent – and protruding spacecraft antenna – from Gemini 11.
(p) Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin climbs out of Gemini 12.


(q) Third-stage Saturn 4B booster after separation from Apollo 7.
(r) Earthrise seen by Apollo 8 as it emerges from far side of Moon on Christmas Eve.
(s) Dave Scott pokes head out of Apollo 9’s command module Gumdrop.
(t) Apollo 10’s lunar-module Snoopy just before rejoining command ship Charlie Brown in first docking in lunar orbit.
(u) Father and son look across Banana River at Apollo 11 lifting off for first lunar landing; Aldrin standing at attention near flag at Tranquillity Base.
(v) Apollo 12’s Pete Conrad, Richard Gordon and Al Bean beginning post-flight quarantine aboard carrier Hornet.
(w) As Navy chaplain offers prayers, Apollo’s 13 James Lovell, James Haise and John Swigert bow their heads after their near disaster in space.
(x) Apollo 14’s lander Antares at dawn of a lunar day.
(y) Crew of Apollo 15 being hoisted aboard recovery helicopter after splash-down.
(z) Young riding Apollo 16’s lunar rover in Moon’s Descartes region.

(Time, 11 December 1972)

alan sheppard

Alan Shepard in the Freedom 7 capsule before launch