Alan Shepard gears up for his flight as the first American in space. May 5, 1961.
This photo from the holdings of the Eisenhower Library shows astronaut Shepard preparing for his record setting flight as the first American man in space.
-from the Jacqueline Cochran Papers, Federation Aeronautique International Series. National Archives ID #7065300
This post was originally a Doc of the Week from the Eisenhower Library
May 8, 1961 — President and Mrs. Kennedy, along with Vice President Johnson, greet Commander Alan B. Shepard, Jr. and his wife Louise prior to a presentation of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal to Commander Shepard.
The JFK Library and Museum will be unveiling a new installation featuring Freedom 7, the iconic space capsule that Shepard piloted on the first manned American spaceflight, tomorrow at 10:00 AM. If you’re in the Boston area, join us! If you’re not, don’t despair — the capsule is scheduled to remain at the Museum through December 2015.
The Freedom 7 was the space capsule that launched the first American, Alan Shepard, into space. Yesterday, Freedom 7 arrived at the JFK Library in Boston.
On September 12, 1962, President Kennedy made his famous promise to send a mission to the moon. The JFK Library will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the speech by unveiling a installation of the Freedom 7 capsule.
Thanks to the National Air and Space Museum for the generous loan! You can see the Freedom 7 at the JFK Library until December 2015.
Pictured, left: The Freedom 7 arriving yesterday at the JFK Library. Right: JFK and astronaut John Glenn look inside a different capsule, the Friendship 7, at Cape Canaveral, 2/23/62.
More photos from the JFK Library
Alan Shepard - First American in Space
On May 5, 1961, NASA launched the first American into space. Alan Shepard took his historic ride in a Freedom 7 capsule, powered by a Redstone missile rocket. Shepard traveled to an altitude of 116 miles and returned to Earth in 15 minutes. From his capsule, Shepard saw the curvature of the Earth, and described a view never seen by any American before.
On May 8, Shepard traveled to the White House to receive a NASA Distinguished Service Medal from President John F. Kennedy. Three weeks later, JFK would announce to a joint session of Congress the goal of sending an American safely to the Moon by the end of the decade.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Mercury-Redstone 3 flight, so as you enjoy your first Saturday in May, look up to the skies and raise your glass to Alan Shepard - first American in space. Happy weekend!