50 YEARS AGO FIRST AMERICAN IN SPACE
Fifty years ago The United States manned space program began with the sub orbital flight of Alan Shepard and his Freedom 7 Mercury Space Capsule. His was just the beginning of a brave and hazardous quest that eventually brought the Apollo missions to the moon.
The Mercury Capsules from Shepard to Gordon Cooper who was the last man to fly alone into space, were placed on the top of ballistic missile that had previously been used for nuclear weaponry launch vehicles but adapted for the space program and the manned missions. So these brave men beginning with Shepard knew the extreme risk of being catapulted into space aboard a ballistic missile and chose to be Americas first Astronauts.
Shepard and the other Mercury Astronauts were the pioneers of our manned space program and heroes all for their brave missions into the unknown and their efforts which made not only NASA but all of the future efforts and scientific discoveries that have come as a result of our Space program possible.