83 Facts About Alan Shepard


Alan Shepard became a naval aviator in 1946, and a test pilot in 1950.


Alan Shepard was selected as one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts in 1959, and in May 1961 he made the first crewed Project Mercury flight, Mercury-Redstone 3, in a spacecraft he named Freedom 7.


Alan Shepard's craft entered space, but was not capable of achieving orbit.


Alan Shepard became the second person, and the first American, to travel into space, and the first space traveler to manually control the orientation of his craft.


Alan Shepard named Mercury Spacecraft 15B Freedom 7 II in honor of his first spacecraft, but the mission was canceled.


Alan Shepard was designated as the commander of the first crewed Project Gemini mission, but was grounded in October 1963 due to Meniere's disease, an inner-ear ailment that caused episodes of extreme dizziness and nausea.


Alan Shepard was Chief of the Astronaut Office from November 1963 to August 1969, and from June 1971 until his retirement from the United States Navy and NASA on August 1,1974.

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Alan Shepard was promoted to rear admiral on August 25,1971, the first astronaut to reach that rank.


Alan Shepard had a younger sister, Pauline, who was known as Polly.


Alan Shepard was related to Scottish emigrants from Berneray in the Outer Hebrides, through the Shepard line.


Alan Shepard attended Adams School in Derry, where his academic performance impressed his teachers; he skipped the sixth grade, and proceeded to middle school at Oak Street School in Derry, where he skipped the eighth grade.


Alan Shepard achieved the Boy Scouts of America rank of First Class Scout.


Alan Shepard easily passed the entrance exam to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1940, but at sixteen was too young to enter that year.


Alan Shepard was a keen and competitive sailor, winning several races, including a regatta held by the Annapolis Yacht Club.


Alan Shepard participated in swimming, and rowed with the eight.


Alan Shepard graduated with the Class of 1945 on June 6,1944, ranked 463rd out of 915, and was commissioned as an ensign and awarded a Bachelor of Science degree.


Alan Shepard was given three weeks' leave, in which time he and Louise decided to marry.


The newlyweds had only a brief time together before Alan Shepard rejoined Cogswell at the Long Beach Navy Yard on April 5,1945.


In November 1945, Alan Shepard arrived at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in Texas, where he commenced basic flight training on January 7,1946.


Alan Shepard was an average student, and for a time faced being "bilged" from flight training and reassigned to the surface navy.


Alan Shepard's flying skills gradually improved, and by early 1947 his instructors rated him above average.


Alan Shepard was sent to Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida for advanced training.


Alan Shepard was assigned to Fighter Squadron 42, flying the Vought F4U Corsair.


Alan Shepard departed on his first cruise, of the Caribbean, on Franklin D Roosevelt with VF-42 in 1948.


Alan Shepard managed to persuade his squadron commander to allow him to qualify as well.

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Alan Shepard earned a reputation for carousing and chasing women.


Alan Shepard instituted a ritual of, whenever he could, calling Louise at 17:00 each day.


In 1950, Alan Shepard was selected to attend the United States Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.


Alan Shepard narrowly avoided being court-martialed by the station commander, Rear Admiral Alfred M Pride, after looping the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and making low passes over the beach at Ocean City, Maryland, and the base; but Shepard's superiors, John Hyland and Robert M Elder, interceded on his behalf.


Rear Admiral John P Whitney requested Shepard's services as an aide de camp, but Shepard wanted to fly.


Alan Shepard flight tested the McDonnell F3H Demon, Vought F-8 Crusader, Douglas F4D Skyray and Grumman F-11 Tiger.


When he attempted this in the F7U, Alan Shepard found this was not the case.


Alan Shepard was unable to break out of the spin and was forced to eject.


Alan Shepard did not like the plane, and gave it an unfavorable report.


Alan Shepard filed an unfavorable report on the F11F after a harrowing incident in which the engine failed on him during a high-speed dive.


Alan Shepard managed to restart the engine and avoid a fatal crash.


Alan Shepard was an instructor at the Test Pilot School, and then entered the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island.


Alan Shepard graduated in 1957, and became an Aircraft Readiness Officer on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet.


The first group of 35, which included Alan Shepard, assembled at the Pentagon on February 2,1959.


That evening, Alan Shepard discussed the day's events with fellow naval aviators Jim Lovell, Pete Conrad and Wally Schirra, all of whom would eventually become astronauts.


Alan Shepard was informed of his selection on April 1,1959.


On January 19,1961, Gilruth informed the seven astronauts that Alan Shepard had been chosen for the first American crewed mission into space.


On May 5,1961, Alan Shepard piloted the Mercury-Redstone 3 mission and became the second person, and the first American, to travel into space.


Alan Shepard named his spacecraft, Mercury Spacecraft 7, Freedom 7.


Alan Shepard awoke at 01:10, and had breakfast consisting of orange juice, a filet mignon wrapped in bacon, and scrambled eggs with his backup, John Glenn, and flight surgeon William K Douglas.

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Alan Shepard was helped into his space suit by suit technician Joseph W Schmitt, and boarded the transfer van at 03:55.


Alan Shepard ascended the gantry at 05:15, and entered the spacecraft five minutes later.


Alan Shepard's endurance gave out before launch, and he was forced to empty his bladder into the suit.


Unlike Gagarin's 108-minute orbital flight in a Vostok spacecraft three times the size of Freedom 7, Alan Shepard stayed on a suborbital trajectory for the 15-minute flight, which reached an altitude of 101.2 nautical miles, and then fell to a splashdown 263.1 nautical miles down the Atlantic Missile Range.


Unlike Gagarin, whose flight was strictly automatic, Alan Shepard had some control of Freedom 7, spacecraft attitude in particular.


Alan Shepard served as capsule communicator for Glenn's Mercury-Atlas 6 orbital flight, which he had been considered for, and Carpenter's Mercury-Atlas 7.


Alan Shepard was the backup pilot for Cooper for the Mercury-Atlas 9 mission, nearly replacing Cooper after Cooper flew low over the NASA administration building at Cape Canaveral in an F-102.


Alan Shepard named Mercury Spacecraft 15B Freedom 7 II in honor of his first spacecraft, and had the name painted on it, but on June 12,1963, NASA Administrator James E Webb announced that Mercury had accomplished all its goals and no more missions would be flown.


Alan Shepard went as far as making a personal appeal to President Kennedy, but to no avail.


In late 1963, Alan Shepard began to experience episodes of extreme dizziness and nausea, accompanied by a loud, clanging noise in the left ear.


Alan Shepard tried to keep it secret, fearing that he would lose his flight status, but was aware that if an episode occurred in the air or in space it could be fatal.


The condition caused Alan Shepard to be removed from flight status.


Alan Shepard was designated Chief of the Astronaut Office in November 1963, receiving the title of Chief Astronaut.


Alan Shepard provided and coordinated astronaut input into mission planning and the design of spacecraft and other equipment to be used by astronauts on space missions.


Alan Shepard was on the selection panel for the NASA Astronaut Group 5 in 1966.


Alan Shepard spent much of his time investing in banks, wildcatting, and real estate.


Alan Shepard became part owner and vice president of Baytown National Bank and would spend hours on the phone in his NASA office overseeing it.


Alan Shepard bought a partnership in a ranch in Weatherford, Texas, that raised horses and cattle.


The surgery was conducted on May 14,1968 at St Vincent's Hospital in Los Angeles, where Alan Shepard checked in under the pseudonym of Victor Poulos.


Alan Shepard asked for Jim McDivitt as his Lunar Module Pilot, but McDivitt, who had already commanded the Apollo 9 mission, balked at the prospect, arguing that Alan Shepard did not have sufficient Apollo training to command a Moon mission.

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Alan Shepard agreed to do so, and Shepard's crew was assigned to Apollo 14.


Alan Shepard made his second space flight as commander of Apollo 14 from January 31 to February 9,1971.


Alan Shepard became the fifth and, at the age of 47, the oldest man to walk on the Moon, and the only one of the Mercury Seven astronauts to do so.


Alan Shepard was promoted to rear admiral by Nixon on August 26,1971, the first astronaut to reach this rank, although McDivitt had previously been promoted to brigadier general, an equivalent rank in the Air Force.


Alan Shepard retired from both NASA and the Navy on July 31,1974.


Alan Shepard taught them to ski and took them skiing in Colorado.


Alan Shepard once rented a small plane to fly them and their friends from Texas to a summer camp in Maine.


Alan Shepard served as president of his umbrella company for several business enterprises, Seven Fourteen Enterprises, Inc.


Alan Shepard made a fortune in banking and real estate.


In 1984, together with the other surviving Mercury astronauts and Betty Grissom, Gus Grissom's widow, Alan Shepard founded the Mercury Seven Foundation, which raises money to provide college scholarships to science and engineering students.


Alan Shepard was elected its first president and chairman, positions he held until October 1997, when he was succeeded by former astronaut Jim Lovell.


The book included a composite photograph showing Alan Shepard hitting a golf ball on the Moon.


Alan Shepard was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 1996 and died from complications of the disease in Pebble Beach, California, on July 21,1998.


Alan Shepard was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor by President Jimmy Carter on October 1,1978.


Alan Shepard received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1981; the Langley Gold Medal on May 5,1964; the John J Montgomery Award in 1963; the Lambert trophy; the SETP Iven C Kincheloe Award; the Cabot Award; the Collier Trophy; and the City of New York City Gold Medal for 1971.


Alan Shepard was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1977, the International Space Hall of Fame in 1981, and the US Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 11,1990.


At the time of the Freedom 7 launch, Alan Shepard lived in Virginia Beach.


Blue Origin's suborbital space tourism rocket, the New Alan Shepard, is named after Alan Shepard.