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Monday, May 05, 2008


On this day in 1961, US astronaut Alan Bartlett Shepard, jr. (USN - Cdr) became the first American in space when he "flew" the Mercury capsule,

Freedom 7, on a 15 minute 22 second mission. He reached an altitude of 116 miles and flew 302 miles down range. I was in the 8th grade and remember watching it on live television in the school house. 45 million Americans watched the launch and recovery. The rest of the world had to wait. This was before there were satellites to transmit instant pictures around the globe. Those of you old enough might remember, he coined the phrase "A-O-K". He also became the 5th person to walk on the moon during the Apollo-14 mission.

He achieved the rank of Rear Admiral in the Navy. He died of leukemia in Monterey, California at the age of 74 in July 1998.

Of the original Mercury-7 astronauts, only 2 are still alive.
  • M. Scott Carpenter (1925 - )
  • L. Gordon Cooper, jr. (1927 - 2004)
  • John H. Glenn, jr. (1921 - )
  • Virgil I. Grissom (1926 - 1967)
  • Walter M. Schirra (1923 - 2007)
  • Alan B, Shepard, jr. (1923 - 1998)
  • Donald K. Slayton (1924 - 1993)
back row
Shepard, Grissom, Cooper
front row
Schirra, Slayton, Glenn, Carpenter

I am lucky enough to have lived in some very interesting times.

Over The Limit?
Please don't drink and drive

"Let's all be careful out there!"