First US manned space flight, 1961

First US manned space flight, 1961

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Credit: NASA/VRS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: First US manned space flight, 1961. Redstone rocket being prepared to launch the Freedom 7 capsule into space on 5th May 1961. This mission (Mercury-Redstone 3) launched Alan Shepherd into space as part of the Mercury program, making him the first US astronaut to travel into space, and the second person worldwide after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin - who had made his flight in April of that year. Shepherd's flight lasted less than 16 minutes, reaching a height of 187 kilometres. Unlike Gagarin, Shepherd did not orbit the Earth. Photographed on 5th May 1961, at Launch Complex 5 (LC-5), Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA.

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