This Day in the Yesteryear: FIRST AMERICAN IN SPACE (1961)

First American in Space (1961)

In 1961, 23 days after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American to be launched into space. Shepard’s suborbital flight—part of the US space program Project Mercury—reached a height of 115 miles (185 km). He performed several maneuvers of his capsule, Freedom 7, but returned after only a 15-minute flight. Although Gagarin was the first human in space, Shepard was the first to return in what way? More…Discuss

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