#4527S- (44¢) Space Firsts - Set of 2

On May 5th, 1961, the Freedom 7 space capsule was launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying the first American to travel in space, astronaut Alan Shepard. Though the flight only lasted for 15 minutes and 22 seconds, the mission allowed Shepard to test the various systems with which his capsule was equipped, proving that the technology was viable and could be used for future space flights. Shepard would later go on to be one of twelve people who have walked on the moon.After the success of the Mariner 10 probe’s mission to record data about the planets Mercury and Venus in 1975, scientists at NASA determined that further study of Mercury was warranted. With this in mind, the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging probe, or “MESSENGER” was launched on August 3rd, 2004. MESSENGER became the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, and did so from 2011 until 2015 when it lost orbit and impacted on the planet’s surface, as planned. The mission vastly improved our understanding of Mercury, and led to the discovery of prior volcanic and tectonic activity, exospheric water, and carbon-containing organic compounds. Water ice was also discovered in one of the planet’s permanently shadowed northern polar craters. Scott 4527-28 Space Firsts

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#4527S- (44¢) Space Firsts - Set of 2
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