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. Alan Shepard (1923-1998), on board the Freedom 7 spacecraft capsule just prior to the launch of the Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) mission, on 5th May 1961. MR-3 was part of the Mercury program and the first American mission to put a human in Space. It made Shepard the first American in 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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