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The Early Years
The Mercury Program
Mercury 3
Mercury 4
Mercury 6
Mercury 7
Mercury 8
Mercury 9
The Gemini Program
The Apollo Program

The Shuttle Program
Program Info
Orbiter Info
Mission Info

The Space Station
Dog Crews


The Mercury Program

Mercury 3

Mercury 3 patch
Alan B. Shepard
Freedom 7
May 5, 1961

After a number of test flights, the first American astronaut, Alan B. Shepard, was launched into space on May 5, 1961. He rode the Mercury-Redstone 3 into suborbital flight for 15 minutes and 28 seconds. His spacecraft was named Freedom 7.

Space is our Future!
Alan B. Shepard, Jr., America's first astronaut Photo by Nasa

PHOTO: Shepard with Freedom-7 Capsule. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., America's first astronaut, stands in front of the Freedom-7 spacecraft shortly after completion of the third flight of the Mercury-Redstone (MR-3) vehicle, May 5, 1961. During the 15-minute suborbital flight, the Freedom-7 Mercury spacecraft, launched atop a modified Redstone rocket developed by Dr. Wernher von Braun and the rocket team in Huntsville, Alabama, reached an altitude of 115 miles and traveled 302 miles downrange.