Blue Origin Targets NET 20 July for First Crewed New Shepard Flight

On National Astronauts Day, @BlueOrigin announced NET 20 July for its first New Shepard launch with humans aboard. […]

Beautiful View: Remembering America's First Astronaut, 60 Years On

OTD in 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. Sixty years on, AmericaSpace looks back on his remarkable achievement. […]

'Light This Candle': Remembering America's First Astronaut, OTD in 1961

One of the few grainy images of Shepard, acquired during his brief moments of weightlessness. Photo Credit: NASA

“A damn fine month,” actor Morgan Freeman’s character Ellis “Red” Redding remarked in the movie Shawshank Redemption and, indeed, for America’s space program, the month of May—newly dawned—has long been a historic one for off-the-planet U.S. […]

'It's Been A Long Way': Remembering the Return of the Rookie, 50 Years On

“A long way, but we’re here,” were Shepard’s figuratively and literally appropriate words when he became the fifth man to set foot on the Moon. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, as the United States and the world stood on the cusp of launching the first humans to the surface of another world, a […]

“What a Beautiful View”: Remembering America’s First Man in Space, OTD in 1961

Al Shepard is hoisted aboard the helicopter, deftly piloted by Wayne Koons, after completing his 15-minute suborbital flight. The patch of fluorescent green marker dye in the water around Freedom 7 is particularly obvious. Photo Credit: NASA

In the half-hour between 9:30 and 10 a.m. EDT on this day in 1961, the United States […]

‘Beautiful View’: Remembering America’s First Manned Mission to Space, 57 Years Ago This Week

On the deck of the U.S.S. Lake Champlain, Alan Shepard checks out the interior of Freedom 7 – the vehicle which had protected him from the rigours of a launch and high-G acceleration, had kept him alive and well in the most hostile environment ever encountered by humanity and sustained him throughout a […]

'What a Beautiful View': 55 Years Since Freedom 7 Began America's Adventure in Space (Part 2)

Shepard’s 15-minute flight offered him a few minutes of weightlessness and a few minutes to glimpse the grandeur of Earth from space. He was only the second human being to leave the Home Planet. Photo Credit: NASA

In the half-hour between 9:30 and 10 a.m. EDT on 5 May 1961, the United States […]

'Man, I Gotta Pee': 55 Years Since Freedom 7 Began America's Adventure in Space (Part 1)

Alan Shepard (left) and John Glenn were assigned as prime and backup pilots for America’s first mission into space. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty-five years ago, in the early hours of 5 May 1961, America prepared to launch its first man into space. Navy Cmdr. Alan Shepard would fly a suborbital flight—rising from Pad […]

'We Had 'Em By the Short Hairs': How the United States Lost the Race for a Man in Space (Part 2)

In early 1961, the Mercury Seven were ready to begin the United States’ first missions into space. However, the need to conduct a final unpiloted Mercury-Redstone mission caused America to lose the race to beat the Soviet Union into space. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty-five years ago, next week, on 24 March 1961, the […]

Timid Doctors and Timid Germans: How the United States Lost the Race for a Man in Space (Part 1)

One of the earliest rockets to be launched from Cape Canaveral was the Army’s Redstone missile, which later evolved into the vehicle seen here delivering America’s first man into space. Photo Credit: NASA

More than five decades have now passed since one of the most unfortunate episodes in human spaceflight history. In late […]