Alan B. Shepard
Alan B. Shepard was born on November 18, 1923, in East Derry, New Hampshire. He attended schools in New Hampshire; received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1944, and several honorary degrees. He graduated from Naval Test Pilot School in 1951 and Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island in 1957.
His many honors and awards included the Congressional Medal of Honor (Space); two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Navy Astronaut Wings, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, and the Navy Distinguished Flying Cross. He received the Langley Medal (highest award of the Smithsonian Institution) in 1964, the Lambert Trophy, the Kinchloe Trophy, the Cabot Award, the Collier Trophy, the City of New York Gold Medal (1971), and the Achievement Award for 1971. Shepard was appointed by President Richard Nixon in July 1971, as a delegate to the 26th United Nations General Assembly.
Shepard began his naval career on the destroyer Cogswell, deployed in the Pacific during World War II. He subsequently entered flight training and received his wings in 1947. He also served several tours aboard aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean.
After graduating from the United States Navy Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, he participated in flight test work, which included high-altitude tests; test and development experiments of the Navy's in-flight refueling system; carrier suitability trials of the F2H3 Banshee, and Navy trials of the first angled carrier deck.
During a second tour of duty at Patuxent, he engaged in flight testing the F3H Demon, F8U Crusader, F4D Skyray, and F11F Tigercat. He was also project test pilot on the F5D Skylancer, and was also an instructor in the Test Pilot School.
He has logged more than 8,000 hours flying time—3,700 hours in jet aircraft.
Rear Admiral Shepard was one of the Mercury astronauts named by NASA in April 1959, and was the first American to journey into space. On May 5, 1961, in the Freedom 7 spacecraft, he was launched by a Redstone vehicle on a ballistic trajectory suborbital flight—reaching an altitude of 116 statute miles.
In 1963, he became chief of the Astronaut Office with responsibility for monitoring the coordination, scheduling, and control of all activities involving NASA astronauts.
Shepard made his second space flight as spacecraft commander on Apollo 14, January 31 - February 9, 1971, the third crewed lunar landing mission, accompanied by Stuart Roosa and Edgar Mitchell.
Rear Admiral Shepard has logged a total of 216 hours and 57 minutes in space, of which 9 hours and 17 minutes were spent in lunar surface EVA (extra-vehicular activities, or “spacewalks”).
He died on July 21, 1998.
Alan B. Shepard
Credits - NASA