The 83-feet high "Redstone" rocket carrying Commander Alan Shepard - the United States' first spaceman - was blasted off from Cape Canaveral, May 5.
The 83-feet high "Redstone" rocket carrying Commander Alan Shepard - the United States' first spaceman - was blasted off from Cape Canaveral, May 5. Exactly according to plan, he was launched 115 miles into space; and was successfully recovered from the Atlantic 15 minutes later.
An elevator took him 65 feet up the side of the rocket, and he entered the missile as the count-down reached the final dramatic stages. The gantry was pulled away - and he was ready for his historic journey...
Riding a column of orange exhaust fire, the rocket rose into a hazy sky. Thousands watched from nearby beaches - millions more from television screens. The exhaust flame diminished until it became a pinpoint in the sky. A puff 140 seconds later indicated that the booster burned out as planned.
At no time did he appear to be in any difficulty, and during the flight he switched to manual control of the capsule. He travelled at a speed of about 5,100 miles an hour. He was in constant communication with the ground, and commented: "Oh, what a beautiful view - what a beautiful sight." He was in good physical condition, having already climbed out of the space capsule when he was picked up by helicopter. His comment on being picked up: "Boy, what a ride!"