THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Freedom 7 Launched From Cape Canaveral In 1961

By  //  May 5, 2016

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first American space flight involving human beings

FREEDOM-7-580-5
Freedom 7, the first piloted Mercury spacecraft (No. 7) carrying Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr., was launched from Cape Canaveral by Mercury­Redstone (MR­3) launch vehicle, to an altitude of 115 nautical miles and a range of 302 miles. (NASA Image)

(NASA) – Freedom 7, the first piloted Mercury spacecraft (No. 7) carrying Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr., was launched from Cape Canaveral on May 5 in 1961 by Mercury­Redstone (MR­3) launch vehicle, to an altitude of 115 nautical miles and a range of 302 miles.

It was the first American space flight involving human beings, and during his 15-minute suborbital flight, Shepard rode a Redstone booster to a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

Shepard demonstrated that individuals can control a vehicle during weightlessness and high G stresses, and significant scientific biomedical data were acquired.

He reached a speed of 5,100 miles per hour and his flight lasted 14.8 minutes.

Shepard was the second human and the first American to fly in space.

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