60 Facts About Alan Shepard


Graduate of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Alan Shepard saw action with the surface navy during World War II.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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Alan Shepard'spard 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.

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

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Alan Shepard'spard 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.

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

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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.

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

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

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Alan Shepard'spard returned to the United States later that month.

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

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

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

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

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

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Alan Shepard'spard 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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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Alan Shepard'spard was celebrated as a national hero, honored with ticker-tape parades in Washington, New York and Los Angeles, and received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal from President John F Kennedy.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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Alan Shepard'spard flew to Los Angeles, where he met with William F House.

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Alan Shepard'spard 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'spard 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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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Alan Shepard was awarded honorary degrees of Master of Arts from Dartmouth College in 1962, D Sc.

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