Tuesday, May 05, 2009

May 5, 1961: Alan Shepard Rockets to Space

It was forty-eight years ago this morning that astronaut Alan Shepard, Jr. became the first American to rocket into space and bringing the United States into the space race.

At 9:34 am EDT on May 5, 1961, Navy commander Shepard rocketed from Launch Complex 5 at Cape Canaveral aboard the Mercury spacecraft, and up to an altitude 116.5 statue miles. And, like a cannonball, came splashing down some 303 statues miles east of the Cape. Flight time: 15 1/2 minutes.

I was recently at the Astronaut Hall of Fame located in south Titusville, and enjoyed the great mementos from those early flights. I also recalled my several meetings with Mr. Shepard for whom I had the chance to work for during a two year period in the mid-1990's. His statue stands at the main entrance to the museum [above].

If you get the chance this week, re-watch the 1983 movie The Right Stuff and purchase the book Moon Shot, a book he co-wrote in the early-90's.

1 comment:

Jonathan Woodworth said...

Great Photo Charles
It is hard to imagine what it was like to be such a pioneer. The the excitement, the fear, the courage, the risk. Wow that a phenomenal feat.

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