Mercury Freedom 7
A long time ago there was a cupboard in a curious little boy’s bedroom. It was a cupboard that contained technology from a bygone era and media to match.
I remember when my Dad let me loose on his reel to reel tape player, about the same time as I got my first tape recorder. Mine was sleek and black with a single speaker and a big red record button. I was so proud. My Dad’s was huge and grey and had the coolest neon light to signify it was recording. It lived in the cupboard with all of its’ tapes but there was one tape that was special. A 3.5 inch reel in a red case marked ‘EMITAPE’. It was set apart from the rest because it was the only reel that was in it’s own special plastic case. A perfect time capsule from the 5th May 1961. The day when Alan B Shepard became the first American in space in the Mercury Freedom 7 rocket.
In the days before the Space Shuttle I would listen to this tape and be completely consumed by the excited voices. They were all pioneers, not only Shepard but the guys from NASA and the broadcasters themselves. They had only just covered Gagarin’s orbit and within a matter of weeks the West followed suit.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Shepard’s flight I have managed to digitise this tape, with the help of an old colleague (you know who you are) and am posting it here for your listening pleasure. It’s 34:27 of pure adrenaline. Enjoy.