Friday, May 5, 1961: First American in space

Three weeks after Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union made history as the first man in space, the United States launches Alan Shepard aboard the Freedom 7. The flight lasts 15 minutes and takes Shepard to an altitude of 116 miles.

* Short biography: @
* More from nasa.gov (click on "links" for flight summary): @
* NASA's "This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury" (go to Chapter 11, "Suborbital Flights Into Space"): @

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