[amsat-bb] Alan Shepard, First American in Space

John Papay john at papays.com
Wed May 4 09:16:16 PDT 2011

Tomorrow, May 5th, we as Americans will celebrate the
Anniversary of Alan Shepard's flight into space 50 years
ago.  Alan flew in a Mercury capsule on top of a Redstone
Rocket.  His recovery at sea was viewed by millions on
live television.  Alan could have been the first human to fly
in space, however, delays postponed what was to be an October,
1960 launch.  Safety was the concern back then as it is today.
Alan actually had some control over the Mercury capsule including
it's attitude.  His flight was not on autopilot.  He was very
concerned about making a mistake as he knew everyone was depending
on him.  His flight was a great success and a tribute to all those
who came before him, some giving their lives as test pilots.  The
success could not have been possible if it were not for all those
who were involved in the design, manufacturing and assembly,
and all things necessary to launch a spacecraft. All were American

I was just 15 years old in 1961 and had been licensed as a Novice
for 3 months.  My father worked at NASA Lewis so we were very much
aware of the tremendous effort being made to put a man in Space.
The years that came after saw the United States fly mission after
mission culminating with a lunar landing.  Alan Shepard would later
command Apollo 14 and pilot the lunar lander onto the surface of the
moon.  Alan Shepard (1923-1998) is an American Hero.

Alan Shepard, the first American in Space, May 5th, 1961.  Tell your
kids and grandkids about him.

John K8YSE

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