On This Day In History

Thursday, May 5, 2011 - 6:23pm

On this date in history in 1961, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space.

Shepard made a 15-minute flight in the "freedom seven" capsule launched from Cape Canaveral.

The sub-orbital flight reached a height of 116 miles into the atmosphere, marking a major triumph for NASA.

NASA was established in 1958 shortly after the soviets launched the sputnik satellite a year earlier.

The soviets were the first into space, but the Americans were the first to land on the moon.


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