(NASA) – Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., in his silver pressure suit with the helmet visor closed, prepares for his Mercury Redstone 3 launch on May 5, 1961. Shepard’s Freedom 7 Mercury capsule lifted off at 9:34 a.m. and flew a suborbital trajectory lasting 15 minutes and 22 seconds. He became the first American to fly into space.
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