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NASA releases photo of first manned space flight
Astronaut Alan Shepard is hurled into space atop a Mercury-Redstone rocket on May 5, 1961. Freedom 7 was the first American manned suborbital space flight, making Shepard the first American in space. He later commanded the Apollo 14 mission, and was the fifth person to walk on the moon. (UPI Photo/NASA/FILE)
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Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. (November 18, 1923 – July 21, 1998) was an American naval aviator, test pilot, flag officer, and NASA astronaut who in 1961 became the second person, and the first American, in space. Ten years later, he commanded the Apollo 14 mission, and became the fifth person to walk on the Moon. He also served as chief of the Astronaut Office from November 1963 – July 1969 and from June 1971 – August 1, 1974. Shepard was promoted from captain to rear admiral on August 25, 1971. He retired from the US Navy and NASA in 1974.

Shepard was born in Derry, New Hampshire to Lt. Col. Alan B. Shepard, Sr. and Renza (née Emerson) Shepard. He attended primary and secondary schools in East Derry and Derry.

Shepard began his naval career after graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1944, and served on the destroyer USS Cogswell while it was deployed in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. He subsequently entered flight training at Corpus Christi, Texas and Pensacola, Florida, and received his naval aviator wings in 1947. He was assigned to Fighter Squadron 42 based at Norfolk, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida, and served several tours aboard aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean Sea with the squadron.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alan Shepard."
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