When it comes to the first American in space, did you know that it was Alan B Shepard Jr that accomplished a suborbital flight that lasted for 15 minutes? Inside of the Mercury capsule called Freedom 7, he made history on May 5th, 1961. In this article, you will learn more about the man who became the second person and the first American in space.
Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr was born on November 18th, 1923. As a youth, he attended elementary and middle schools located in Derry and East Derry, New Hampshire. When he entered the world of higher education, Shepard decided to attend the United States Naval Academy in 1944, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree. Shepard also graduated from Test Pilot School in 1951 and in 1957, he attended the Naval War College (located in Newport, Rhode Island).
Over the years, Shepard would also bring home a host of honorary degrees, such as the Honorary Master of Arts degree (Dartmouth College in 1962), and Honorary Doctorate of Science (Miami University, located at Oxford, Ohio in 1971), and an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities (Franklin Pierce College in 1972).
In the Navy
Upon his graduation from Annapolis, Shepard embarked on a career with the Navy, as a member of a destroyer called the USS Cogswell. This vessel was situated in the Pacific Ocean at the same time that the Second World War was brewing. Following this experience, he started flight training at Corpus Christi, Texas and Pensacola, Florida. In 1947, he earned his wings. Additional experience associated with Alan Shepard while he was in the Navy included:
Shepard was a part of the Fighter Squadron 42, which made its way to Norfolk, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida. Traveling in the Mediterranean, Shepard served a couple of tours aboard aircraft carriers as part of the Fighter Squadron 42.
After graduating from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (located at Patuxent River, Maryland), Shepard became a part of flight test work, which involved high-altitude tests aimed at collected information on light in regards to various altitudes. He also studied a collection of air masses located above America.
Shepard was part of Navy trials associated with the first angled carrier deck.
Shepard worked on carrier suitability trials associated with the F2H-3 Banshee.
In 1950, Shepard attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (located at Patuxent River, Maryland).
Shepard spent a bit of time at Moffett Field, California, as he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 193. His duties were categorized under the position of flying Banshee jets with a night fighter unit. Holding the title of operations officer, Shepard was involved with two tours that took him to the western part of the Pacific.
During this time, he traveled on board a carrier called the USS Oriskany.