Birthday cheers to Alan Shepard, the first American in space!
On May 5, 1961, NASA astronaut Alan Shepard piloted his Freedom 7 Mercury capsule in a 15-minute suborbital flight, becoming America’s first astronaut. In this image he is shown being hoisted aboard a U.S. Marine helicopter after splashdown. The flight carried him to an altitude of 116 statute miles.
Also pictured, Shepard in a space suit before the Mercury launch, and President and Jacqueline Kennedy, and V.P. Johnson watching Shepard’s lift off.
For a cool retrospective on the Mercury flights take a look at NASA’s multimedia salute to the first American astronauts.
Alan Shepard (woo hoo!)
November 18, 1923 - July 21, 1998