THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Alan Shepard Becomes First American In Space In 1961

By  //  May 5, 2020

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LAUNCHED May 5, 1961 FROM CAPE CANAVERAL

ABOVE VIDEO: Freedom 7 launches on May 5, 1961, from Cape Canaveral.

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA • MAY 5, 1961 – Alan Shepard became the first American in space on this day in 1961.

His suborbital flight in Freedom 7 reached a maximum speed of 8,200 km/h (5095.2 mph) and altitude of 187.4 km (116.5 mi).

The mission objective was to test the capabilities of a person during spaceflight.

The capsule didn’t have a window, so Shepard could only view his surroundings through a periscope.

The capsule splashdown occurred in the Atlantic Ocean. Shepard and the capsule were recovered by helicopter by the crew of the USS Lake Champlain.

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Alan Shepard became the first American in space on this day in 1961.

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