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Freedom 7 photography by Bob Orsillo.
Mercury-Redstone 3 was a U.S. Mercury program manned space mission launched on May 5, 1961 using a Redstone rocket, from Launch Complex 5 (LC-5) at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Mercury spacecraft was named Freedom 7 which performed a suborbital flight piloted by astronaut Alan Shepard, who became the first American in space. The flight lasted less than 16 minutes and attained an altitude of just over 187 kilometres (116 mi).
Unlike the earlier Soviet Vostok 1 flight, Shepard did not orbit the Earth, but simply went up and down in a ballistic trajectory which required a less-powerful rocket and simpler guidance. He did, however, become the first astronaut to safely return to Earth inside his vehicle. In the Vostok 1 mission, pilot Yuri Gagarin parachuted from his vehicle prior to landing.
December 6th, 2010
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