Sunday marks the 52nd anniversary of the first American in space. On May 5th, 1961, Alan Shepard Jr. became the first NASA astronaut to be launched into outer space aboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft.
Launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., Shepard was rocketed to an altitude of 116.5 miles. Shepard tested out altitude controls for five minutes and then parachuted to safety into the Atlantic Ocean. The entire trip lasted 15 minutes and 28 seconds, but gave the space program the confidence that they could continue to advance further missions and orbits.
You can share this special anniversary with your kids by visiting NASA’s Space Place, where they can learn about Alan Shepard, astronauts, outer space and more.