Commander Alan Shepard, who rocketed to 115-piles May 5 aboard a "Radstone" missile, told a Washington press conference May 8 that he is ready to ride a rocket into orbit without a further up-and-down flight.
TRANSCRIPT: Commander Alan Shephard: "We feel very strongly that this particular flight was one which was certainly accomplished in the open. We had very few secrets about our plans, mostly dates were classified, but very little else was. This has been a little annoying to us at times, but I think we rationalized with the thought that the free democratic society which produced us, and which produced 'Project Mercury' Flight certainly had a right to be presented in such a fashion. The second thought I would like to make at this point is that we are very proud of the manner in which the programme was planned from the start, in which certain tendencies to speed up the times because of other events were carefully considered and evaluated, sometimes were taken and sometimes discarded. I think the proof of that is in the fact that Friday's flight, short as it was, we found that we were able to do, as we understand it, a great number of things during that short period of time. For example we, I actually controlled, in this case the vehicle, its position during the retrofiring, I controlled it during the re-entry, and of course provide the back up for the mechanical systems aboard the capsule. All in all we are very much pleased with this flight and very much encouraged by it and we plan to press ahead with all possible speed to the successful completion of Project Mercury, as we now know it."
Explain to us how you felt during that five minutes of weightlessness. Could you move your hands? Did it have any effect on your brain activity?
"Well all of a sudden during the period of the middle of the weightlessness I realized that somebody was going to ask me that question, (laughter). So I said to myself you've got to figure out an answer, (more laughter). Seriously, as we have said before, during the short period which we have experienced during our training period, we felt a pleasant sensation particularly so after the accelerations of the booster side we find that we have no difficulty in manoeuvring ourselves and controlling ourselves, and all in all really at this point it certainly has given us no difficulty at all".
"Are you prepared to make a trip round the world?".
"Definitely, all seven of us are".
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Background: Commander Alan Shepard, who rocketed to 115-piles May 5 aboard a "Radstone" missile, told a Washington press conference May 8 that he is ready to ride a rocket into orbit without a further up-and-down flight. With him on the platform were his six fellow astronauts and scientists of the National Aeronautical Space Administration.
Shepard making statement.
Earlier, he had been re-united with his wife, Louise, for the first time since two weeks before the flight; had been flown by helicopter to the White House where President Kennedy awarded him the rare Distinguished Service Medal of N.A.S.A.; and had been acclaimed by scores of thousands of cheering people as he drove to the press conference.