Alan shepard


Alan Shepard was an important commander of the United States Navy who was launched into outer space on the edge of a space capsule known as Freedom 7, becoming the first American citizen to perform a suborbital flight, a flight that lasted of 15 minutes and that managed to reach a height of 116 miles above the atmosphere, a flight that was considered one of the main triumphs achieved by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration , in other words, NASA.


Personal information

  • When was he born: 11/18/1923
  • Where he was born: East Derry, Derry, New Hampshire, United States
  • When he died: 07/21/1998
  • Where he died: Pebble Beach, Del Monte Forest, California, United States

Who was Alan Shepard?

Alan Shepard was a renowned and important astronaut who worked for the United States Naval Academy , an American who was first sent into space in a suborbital flight.


Biography of Alan Shepard

Alan Shepard was born in the United States in New Hampshire , on November 18, 1923. His childhood developed in a rural area from where he was born and he attended the primary school where he graduated. Later he decided to continue his studies at the Naval Academy high school graduating on June 7, 1944.


He worked for the army for about 15 years, where he held different positions. He obtained a license as a civilian pilot and as a result made several flights through the Mediterranean. Subsequently, Alan Shepard participated in aircraft development tests after joining the US Navy as a test pilot . He spent time working as a flight instructor and managed to log more than 8,000 flight hours as a pilot. After graduation from the Naval War College where he was studying for a time, he was assigned as an aircraft preparation officer in the Atlantic Fleet .


Alan Shepard died on July 21, 1998 when he was 74 years old. Apparently he suffered from leukemia , however, his family did not want to disclose the exact cause of his death.


His education as a child was based on attending various elementary and secondary schools located in the city of Derry in New Hampshire. Later, he was able to earn his Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1944. He continued his studies until he earned a Master of Arts with honors from Dartmouth College and also earned an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Miami . Finally, he studied at the Naval Test Pilots School from where he managed to graduate in 1951 and at the Naval War College in 1957.

Alan Shepard’s Space Race

In 1959, several test pilots were called to volunteer in the space flight program that was run by NASA in which they were selected by the organization. In total there were seven astronauts who formed the group known by the name of Mercury 7 and from which Alan Shepard was chosen to pilot the first flight into space. The trip was made on May 5, reaching an altitude of 187 kilometers and thus achieving a suborbital flight that lasted 15 minutes.

After his return, he worked for more flights and was named in the Gemini program , which would begin a trip to the Moon for which he prepared in the docking of spaceships and in space walks . However, he began to develop a series of health problems including dizziness and nausea and was diagnosed with Méniere’s disease due to the accumulation of fluid in his inner ear. Due to this situation, he was unable to make any more trips or fly jet planes. In 1969 he managed to undergo surgery that solved his health problem by returning to work on his travels.

He went into space from Cape Canaveral one January 31, 1971 landing on the lunar surface on February 7 . Together with his partner, he spent more than 33 hours on the Moon, managing to record 9 hours and 17 minutes of moonwalk and collecting a large number of samples from the lunar surface.

What is it famous for?

Alan Shepard is known worldwide for having been the first man from the United States to fly into space while allowing him, as a pilot, to exercise part of the control of his ship and himself. After overcoming a disease in his middle ear, he managed to be included again in the Apollo aeronautical projects.


He married Louise Shepard , who died one after her husband passed away from a heart attack after visiting their daughter.


His father was Alan Shepard and his mother was named Renza Emerson.


Alan Shepard had three children, Julie , Laura and Alice whom he took to all the events organized by NASA,

Acknowledgments to Alan Shepard

Alan Shepard was a recognized man not only in the United States but also worldwide. There are several recognitions that this important astronaut could receive, among which the following are mentioned:

  • Medal of Honor of the United States Congress.
  • NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
  • NASA Exceptional Service Allowance.
  • United States Navy Astronaut Wings.
  • Navy Distinguished Service Medal.
  • Flying Cross.
  • Langley Medal which is the highest recognition that can be awarded by the Smithsonian Institution.
  • Lambert Trophy.
  • Kinchloe Trophy.
  • Cabot Award.
  • Collier Trophy.
  • Gold Medal awarded by the city of New York.


It is important for science and for the United States because he was the first man in this country who managed to set foot in space . In addition, he was able to visit the Moon a second time collecting a series of space rocks that served to carry out a series of important studies and investigations.

Presence in popular culture

In today’s cultural presence, he is still remembered in schools and colleges as the first American who managed to travel to space and who also visited the moon. His memory has been honored by President Bill Clinton, for example, when Alan Shepard passed away. Some books tell his story and his feat is taught to Americans from childhood.


Alan Shepard suffered after his first trip from an inner ear disease that prevented him from participating in space flights for approximately six years until he underwent corrective surgery , then he returned to participate in the Apollo 14 mission to the moon. He was the oldest astronaut to ever visit space, and when he did so for the last time, he used two golf balls during a walk on the moon to hit them so he could calculate the forces of gravity.

While he was unable to fly, he decided to invest money in banks and real estate , which quickly made him the only millionaire astronaut of the time. When he retired completely from NASA, he dedicated himself to the presidency of a construction company and a company that distributed beer in Houston.

Alan Shepard Quotes

Some of his most important phrases were the following:

  • The fact is that each part that makes up this ship was built by the lowest bidder.
  • Even though it has been a long road, we are here.
  • Being a test pilot doesn’t always turn out to be the healthiest business in the world.

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