1st American in space honored on 50th anniversary

May 05, 2011 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
In this May 5, 1961 image released by NASA, U.S. astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., is seen in his space suit prior to launch on the spacecraft Freedom 7 at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla. Shepard became the first astronaut to man a spacecraft in orbit . NASA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the U.S. human flight with several ceremonies and a parade. The U.S. Postal service will unveil two new stamps, one commemorates NASA's Project Mercury and Shepard's history launch and the other honor's NASA's Messenger, which became the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury. (AP Photo/NASA, HO)

(AP) -- More than 600 people marked the exact moment when the first American rocketed into space 50 years ago.

Thursday's ceremony took place at the spot where Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard blasted off on a 15-minute suborbital flight on May 5, 1961.

The crowd at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station included Shepard's three daughters, about 100 Project Mercury workers and one of the two surviving Mercury seven astronauts, Scott Carpenter. They listened to a recording of Shepard's journey, timed to the second of his launch at 9:34 a.m.

Shepard was the second man in . Soviet Yuri Gagarin beat him into space by less than a month.

Shepard later became the fifth man to walk on the . He died in 1998 at age 74.

Explore further: Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

More information: NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/50th

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US marks 50 years since second human spaceflight

May 05, 2011

Three weeks after the world marked 50 years since Russia's Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel in space, the United States is honoring the American who followed him, Alan Shepard.

ISS crews honor Yuri Gagarin

Apr 12, 2007

The International Space Station crews sent their best wishes to Moscow Thursday in honor of the anniversary of the pioneering space journey of Yuri Gagarin.

Mars tribute marks memories of Shepard's flight

May 05, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The team exploring Mars via NASA's Opportunity rover for the past seven years has informally named a Martian crater for the Mercury spacecraft that astronaut Alan Shepard christened Freedom ...

Gagarin's widow fetes space flight with US astronauts

Apr 12, 2011

Legendary astronauts, including a veteran of the US Apollo programme and the first man to walk in space Tuesday joined the widow of Yuri Gagarin in the Kremlin to remember his space flight 50 years ago.

Recommended for you

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

11 hours ago

This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… ...

Rosetta instrument commissioning continues

12 hours ago

We're now in week four of six dedicated to commissioning Rosetta's science instruments after the long hibernation period, with the majority now having completed at least a first initial switch on.

Astronaut salary

12 hours ago

Talk about a high-flying career! Being a government astronaut means you have the chance to go into space and take part in some neat projects—such as going on spacewalks, moving robotic arms and doing science ...

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

Apr 16, 2014

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

explainer
not rated yet May 08, 2011
I watched that launch. I was such an astronaut fan.

More news stories

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Hubble image: A cross-section of the universe

An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...