Alan Shepard

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Alan Shepard was one of seven men chosen from over 500 candidates to be a member of the first group of astronauts in 1959.

Alan Shepard was born in 1923 in New Hampshire. He attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland where he graduated in 1944. Shepard served on a destroyer during World War II and was a Navy test pilot at the time he was selected to join the Astronaut Corps. He became the first American to enter space on May 5,1961. Though Shepard spent only 5 minutes in actual space aboard Freedom 7, he laid the groundwork for the United States to become the great innovator in space exploration we know today. Alan Shepard was grounded from 1963 to 1969 due to an inner ear ailment. After treatment, he was able to return to the corps of active astronauts and became the fifth man to walk on the Moon in 1971. While on the Moon Shepard played golf with a club he had carried onboard the lunar spacecraft of Apollo 14. Following his Moon adventure, he became an admiral in the United States Navy, the first astronaut to ever achieve such a rank. In 1974, Shepard retired from the astronaut corps and the Navy. After retirement, he successfully entered the business world guided by the same dedication with which he approached his space career. Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. died in California on July 22, 1998.

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Alan Shepard was truly a space pioneer who had "all the right stuff". What prepared him to be America's first man in space?

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