Alan Shepard - Recovery After Landing

Alan Shepard - Recovery After Landing American History Famous People Aviation & Space Exploration Famous Historical Events Biographies

Alan Shepard was the first American to be launched into space.  His mission took place on May 5, 1961.  He had named his spacecraft “Freedom 7.”
The plan was to launch Shepard with a Redstone rocket.  He would then travel to the edge of space. 

This was an American event which had never happened before.  At launch time, it wasn’t clear to anyone - including Shepard - whether he would be celebrated as a space pioneer or remembered with flowers strewn on the ocean to commemorate the loss of his mission.

As it happened, the mission was a success and a major boost for America’s space program. 

But ... twenty-three days later, the Soviet Union sent Yuri Gagarin on a mission.  He was the first person in the world to orbit the Earth, in space.  

Shepard was also one of twelve American astronauts to walk on the Moon.  In 1989, during a 20-year-anniversary program in Huntsville, Alan Shepard talked about his lunar adventure:

Now because I am the oldest of the 12 astronauts who walked on the moon, I suppose I can take a moment and talk about the one thing that struck me the most, being on the surface of the moon, a quarter of a million miles away from our home planet.

In looking back at Earth and seeing the beauty of Earth, the beauty of our blue planet, I was actually overwhelmed:  The tears actually came to my eyes, totally surprising me, without any warning. To me it was an expression of something, which was obviously exciting to our generation. It was exciting for many generations. As a matter of fact, the moon landings were probably the most exciting things to happen in this century.

We can all be proud to have been part of it and be proud to be celebrating here this evening with our colleagues who went to the moon and back and the folks here who put the hardware together to take us there.

This NASA image depicts Shepard after he splashed-down into the Atlantic following his flight on Freedom 7:

A U.S. Marine helicopter recovery team hoists astronaut Alan Shepard from his Mercury spacecraft after a successful flight and splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.  On May 5th 1961, Alan B. Shepard Jr. became the first American to fly into space.

Media Credits

Image, described above, online courtesy NASA.




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"Alan Shepard - Recovery After Landing" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Apr 25, 2019.
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