The Space & Beyond Blog

60 years ago, Alan Shepard flew to space

“Why don’t you fix your little problem and light this candle?”

Alan Shepard in his space suit next to the launching Redstone rocket

On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard (left) carried out the first American spaceflight, climbing some 116 miles (188 km) above Earth’s surface with the help of a V-2-inspired Redstone rocket (right). Credit: NASA

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a helicopter hovering over a space capsule as it raises Alan Shepard via a cable

A helicopter picks up Alan Shepard from the Atlantic Ocean after the first American spaceflight on May 5, 1961. Credit: NASA

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