Alan Shepard Jr.

Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. (1923 - 1998)

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Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr.
Born in East Derry, Rockingham, New Hampshire, USAmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Father of [private child (1940s - unknown)], [private child (1950s - unknown)] and [private child (1950s - unknown)]
Died in Pebble Beach, Monterey, California, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 11 Nov 2014
This page has been accessed 2,604 times.

Categories: American Notables | Nominated Profiles | United States Navy | NASA Astronauts | Mercury Astronauts | Apollo Astronauts | Navy Distinguished Service Medal | Distinguished Flying Cross (United States) | Congressional Space Medal of Honor | NASA Distinguished Service Medal | NASA Exceptional Service Medal | United States Astronaut Hall of Fame | Forest Hill Cemetery, East Derry, New Hampshire.

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Preceded by

Deke Slayton
Tom Stafford
Chief of the Astronaut Office
Nov 1963 - Jul 1969
Jun 1971 - Aug 1974
Succeeded by

Tom Stafford
John Young

Biography

Admiral Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr, NASA,1st American in Space, Mercury 7 Program, Apollo 14 Astronaut, Moon Explorer

Rear Admiral Shepard was the first of the Project Mercury Seven astronauts named by NASA in April 1959, and he holds the distinction of being the first American to journey into space. [1]

When he was first selected to be one of America's first seven astronauts in 1959[2] he was regarded "as a top-knotch Navy aviator, tough, quick-witted, and a leader", " wrote author Tom Wolfe. Wolfe wrote a book, called "The Right Stuff" and it was also made into a movie with the same name. The book and movie are his classic interpretation of the early space program. [3]


(Alan Shepard Jr, in the Freedom 7 Capsule before it launched in 1961)

Delays had pushed Shepard's launch date back several times. He had named his capsule "Freedom 7", to honor the 7 members of the Mercury 7 program. He was strapped tightly on his back, into his capsule when further complications pushed back the launch another 4 hours. He had to urinate, and since there was no restroom, mission control told him to "do it in the suit". Afterwards, there was a problem with the fuel pressure running high. It was at this point that Shepard snapped and said, "Why don't you fix your little problem, and light this candle". [3][4]

Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr, was the first NASA American astronaut in space. Project Mercury was the very first manned spaceflight program led by NASA, the newly created space program in the United States. Mercury 7 involved seven astronauts, flying 6 solo trips. On May 5th,1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space after being launched from Cape Canaveral, into a suborbital flight. His flight lasted 15 minutes and 22 seconds, launching 263.1 nautical miles. The project's mission objective was to launch an astronaut into orbit around the Earth, and to have him returned safely. Of all the original Mercury 7 astronauts, Alan Shepard Jr. was the only one to reach the Moon. [5] [4] [6]

He was the fifth man to walk on the moon. Also, he currently holds the record for being the oldest astronaut to walk on the Moon, Twelve astronauts in total made Moon walks. Apollo 14 was Shepard's second space flight, the eighth manned mission in the United States Apollo Program; and the third mission to land on the Moon. Apollo 14 was also the last targeted mission to include two day stays, and a total of two lunar moonwalks. [1] [6]

The three Apollo 14 astronauts were Alan Shepard Jr, Edgar Mitchell, and Stuart Roosa. Shepard was the Apollo-14 spacecraft commander in 1971. The 47-year-old Shepard and Edgar Mitchell spent 33 1/2 hours on the moon, nine hours and 23 minutes of it walking about on the surface in deep, shifting lunar dust. Stuart Roosa however remained in lunar orbit, taking photographs of the Moon; which included the future landing site of Apollo 16 mission. The The Apollo 14 mission was the first spaceflight to successfully broadcast color television pictures, while using a "vidicon" tube camera, from the surface of the Moon [1] [3] [6]

But when their work on the moon was completed, Shepard pulled out two golf balls and unfolded a collapsible golf club, specially made for the occasion. Because his very thick gloves, and a stiff suit, he was forced to swing the golf club one-handed, He struck both golf balls, the second one, he said, "went miles and miles and miles". He became the first ever, and only astronaut in NASA history, to hit golf shots on the moon. [1] [3]

After he got back to earth, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal [7] by John F. Kennedy on May 8th, 1961. His wife Louise also met JFK and first lady Jackie Kennedy. A parade was 2 days later and drew in about 250,000 people. [3]

Alan Shepard retired from NASA in 1974, and also retired from the Navy as Rear Admiral. He started Seven Fourteen Enterprises, which where named after his Freedom 7 and Apollo 14 missions. He worked for many years as the president of the Mercury 7 program, now known as the Astronaut Scholarship Program. [3]

In 1994, he published a book called "Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon" with 2 other journalists. A TV miniseries was created after the book that same year. [1]

At the Hall of Science and Exploration, Shepard said that he never intended to be a hero. [3]

"During the actual process of flying spacecraft, of flying the Spirit of St. Louis, one doesn't think of one's self as being a hero or historical figure. One does it because the challenge is there, and one feels reasonably qualified to accomplish it. And it's later on, I suppose, perhaps at the suggestion of other people, that you say 'Well, yes, maybe'."

In conclusion he said "I must admit, maybe I am a piece of history after all". [3]

Alan and Louise had 3 daughters named Laura, Juliana, and Alice. They were grandparents to 6 children. [1]

Alan Shepard Jr, passed away from leukemia on July 21, 1998. At that time, he was the 2nd person to die that had walked on the moon. His wife Louise Brewer passed away 5 weeks later. They were married 53 years. [1]

Both spouses were cremated, and their remains were scattered together, from a Navy helicopter overlooking Stillwater Cove, which is in front of their Pebble Beach home. [1]

Alan Shepard Jr.

Alan Shepard Jr. is the only American NASA astronaut to be featured on a United States Postage Stamp.[8]

Awards

During his Navy career, he was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Navy
Distinguished
Service
Distinguished
Flying
Cross
1961 Awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, his first of 2. [7]
NASA
Distinguished
Service
1969 Awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. [7]
NASA
Exceptional
Service
1971 Awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, his second of 2. [7]
NASA
Distinguished
Service
1978 Awarded the NASA Congressional Space Medal of Honor. [7]

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 wikipedia:Alan_Shepard
  2. Wikipedia List of Astronauts, by Year
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Obituary on CNN
  4. 4.0 4.1 wikipedia:Mercury-Redstone_3
  5. wikipedia:Project_Mercury
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 wikipedia:Apollo_14
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Agency Awards Historical Recipient List
  8. Stamps

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Images: 9
Alan Shepard standing next to the American flag on the Moon, in his Apollo 14 mission.
Alan Shepard standing next to the American flag on the Moon, in his Apollo 14 mission.

Alan Shepard Gravestone from Find A Grave, see comment for details
Alan Shepard Gravestone from Find A Grave, see comment for details

Louise and Alan Shepard, TIME Magazine Cover
Louise and Alan Shepard, TIME Magazine Cover

The Shepards with the Kennedy's at the White House
The Shepards with the Kennedy's at the White House

Earth peeks over the Moon. This photo was taken during the Apollo 14 spaceflight.
Earth peeks over the Moon. This photo was taken during the Apollo 14 spaceflight.

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On 26 Jun 2016 at 08:46 GMT Sherry Bartlett wrote:

It's a very nice write-up. Tonight I connected him as far back as I could, through the Bartlett side.

On 21 Nov 2014 at 00:36 GMT Cheyenne Boggioni wrote:

Thank you Paula. Alan is my 6th cousin. I wanted to honor him and his fellow astronauts. His profile was nominated for profile of the week. I am fairly new to wikitree, and i haven't seen any other profiles with an "object" and not an actual "person"; like the profile that won POTW.

On 20 Nov 2014 at 16:41 GMT Paula J wrote:

Congratulations on a great profile!



Alan is 21 degrees from Robin Helstrom, 26 degrees from Katy Jurado and 16 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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