All About Alan Shepard: The Apollo 14 Mission

When Alan Shepard Jr participated in his second space flight, he was the commander of the Apollo 14 (January 31 , February 9, 1971). During this time, he became a part of the third successful lunar landing mission for America and all at the age of 47, making him the oldest astronaut in the program. When Shepard piloted his Lunar Module Antares, he accomplished the most accurate landing of the entire Apollo program. This mission marked the first that was able to broadcast pictures in color across the television , right from the surface of the Moon.

Shepard is also known for famously playing golf while on the Moon. With a Wilson six-iron head fastened to a to a lunar sample scoop handle, he maneuvered the discomfort of heavy gloves and the stiffness of a spacesuit to swing the club using one hand and successfully hitting two golf balls into space.

After the Apollo 14 flight, Shepard assumed his position as Chief of the Astronaut Office in June of 1971. before retiring from both the Navy and NASA on August 1, 1974, he had earned a promotion to the status of Rear Admiral, which is the equivalent to a brigadier general in other sections of the military.

Facts About Alan Shepard

As you continue to learn more and more about Alan Shepard, below you will find a collection of facts concerning one of the most celebrated astronauts in NASA history.

·    Alan Shepard was once a patient of Meniere’s disease, which attacks the inner ear in such a way that hearing and balance become impaired. Some victims of the disorder will experience dizziness, tinnitus, as well as progressive hearing loss (usually in one ear). The cause of such a disease is an increase in volume and pressure of a certain part of the inner ear called the endolymph. Shepard underwent corrective surgery for this problem and was able to return to full flight status in May of 1969.

·    Originally, Shepard was assigned to command Apollo 13, but needed more training. As a result, he and his crewmate exchanged missions with who was supposed to have been the crew of Apollo 14 (James Lovell, Fred Haise, and Ken Mattingly).

·    Interestingly, Shepard was known as one of the many influential and well known descendants of Richard Warren, a passenger who traveled on the Mayflower.

·    When Shepard was awaiting the launch of Freedom 7, it is said that he uttered the words, ” Please, dear God, don’t let me f*** up.” This particular phrase stuck and became known as the “Shepard’s Prayer” among aviators.

Words of Wisdom , Alan Shepard

“I must admit, maybe I am a piece of history after all.”

“I’d like to say I was smart enough to finish six grades in five years, but I think perhaps the teacher was just glad to get rid of me.”

“It’s been a long way, but we’re here.”

“You know, being a test pilot isn’t always the healthiest business in the world.”