HELP US KEEP REPORTING. DONATE TO ORLANDO WEEKLY PRESS CLUB.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy birthday, first American spaceflight

Posted By on Mon, May 5, 2014 at 11:15 AM

click to enlarge alan_b._shepard_1970jpg

On this date in 1961, Alan Shepard boarded NASA's Mercury-Redstone 3 (renamed the Freedom 7 by Shepard to honor the members of Astronaut Group 1) at Cape Canaveral and rocketed 101.2 miles into suborbital flight, making Shepard the first U.S. citizen in space. The ride lasted 15 minutes before the capsule returned to Earth near the Bahamas (not bad!). Naturally Shepard was lionized for this achievement, but the man himself tended to downplay whatever status it granted him.

"I just wanted to be the first one to fly for America," Shepard told a reporter in 1991. "Not because I'd end up in the pages of history books."

The New Hampshire native would go on to spend nearly 10 hours in space, even hitting a few golf balls on the moon. Shepard retired from astronautin' in 1974 and went on to a successful career in the corporate world. A battle with leukemia felled Alan in 1998, but his spirit, his achievements and his winning smile all live on.

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 13, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation