May 05, 2021
First American In Space: The Flight of Alan B. Shepard
Sixty years ago, on May 5, 1961, a Redstone rocket hurled Alan Shepard’s Mercury capsule, Freedom 7, 116 miles high and 302 miles downrange from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Freedom 7 parachuted into the Atlantic just 15 minutes and 22 seconds later, after attaining a maximum velocity of 5,180 mph. Shepard, a Navy test pilot and NASA astronaut, became the first American to fly in space.