The Space Race (May 5, 1961)

On May 5, 1961, Alan B. Shepard Jr. made the first manned spaceflight in U.S. history. He piloted the spacecraft Freedom 7 during a 15-minute and 28-second suborbital flight that reached an altitude of 116 miles (186 kilometers) above the earth.

Shepard entering Freedom 7

Shepard entering Freedom 7

Shepard was the second person to travel into space. Twenty-three days prior to Shepard’s flight, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first-ever human in space. The space race was on…

Launch of Freedom 7 from Cape Canaveral

Launch of Freedom 7 from Cape Canaveral