The first American spaceflight was a triumph—for an astronaut and for a nation.
- By Tony Reichhardt
- AirSpaceMag.com, May 05, 2011
"What a beautiful view," Shepard radioed to the ground, trying to sound upbeat. But really, what he saw through a periscope (not out the window, as in this picture from an onboard camera) was disappointing. He had left a sun filter in the periscope he used for looking outside the spacecraft (he had been afraid to adjust the filter before launch for fear of accidentally bumping an abort handle), and most of what he saw appeared washed out as a result. He was, however, able to see landmarks in Florida and the Bahamas. "I expected to be able to see the stars and planets, which I did not do," he said later. "I think I could have found them with a little more time to look."