NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Collection
Alan B. Shepard Jr. 1923-1998
On another Friday (May 5, 1961), at the dawn of the space age [ http://www.hq.nasa. ], NASA controllers "lit the candle" and sent Alan B. Shepard Jr. arcing into space atop a Redstone rocket [ http://antwrp.gsfc. ]. The picture shows the pressure-suited Shepard before the launch in his cramped space capsule [ http://images.jsc.n ] dubbed "Freedom 7" [ http://images.jsc.n ]. This historic flight [ http://www.ksc.nasa ] - the first spaceflight by an American - made Shepard a national hero [ http://www.nasm.edu ]. Born in East Derry, New Hampshire on November 18, 1923, Shepard graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1944 and went on to train and serve as a Naval Aviator. Chosen as one of the original seven Mercury Program [ http://www.hq.nasa. ] astronauts, he considered this first flight [ http://www.hq.nasa. ] the greatest challenge and actively sought the assignment. Shepard's accomplishments in his career as an astronaut spanned a remarkable period in human achievement and in 1972 he walked on the moon [ http://www.hq.nasa. ] as commander of the Apollo 14 mission. A true pioneer and intrepid explorer, Alan Shepard died Tuesday [ http://www.nasa.gov ] at age 74 after a lengthy illness.
Credit and Copyright:
Alan B. Shepard
Alan B. Shepard, Jr.
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
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