First American in space honored on 50th anniversary - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

First American in space honored on 50th anniversary

Alan Shepard's 1961 Mercury flight launched 50 years of NASA achievement that the U. S. Postal Service celebrated with a new stamp set. Alan Shepard's 1961 Mercury flight launched 50 years of NASA achievement that the U. S. Postal Service celebrated with a new stamp set.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (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 1 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 space. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin beat him into space by less than a month.

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

Online:

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

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