Born barely 20 years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight, Alan Shepard grew up to fly combat missions in World War II, test multiple new aircraft, become the first American in space, and ultimately hit the first golf shot on the Moon. Born on Nov. 18, 1923, Shepard lifted off in the Freedom 7 spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on May 5, 1961, beginning 62 years of Americans’ journeys into space. During the 15-minute suborbital flight, Shepard reached an altitude of 115 miles and traveled 302 miles. Grounded soon after by an inner-ear disorder, Shepard served as head of the astronaut office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Corrective surgery returned him to flight status, and in 1971, he commanded Apollo 14, the third lunar landing mission.
Image Credit: NASA