The Who2 Blog

Alan Shepard, Suborbital Stud

To be sung to the tune of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”:

“It was 50 years ago today

Alan Shepard was our first in space

It was just 116 miles

But was guaranteed to raise a smile.

So let me introduce to you

The astronaut you’ve known for years:

Alan Shepard, NASA space shot man!”

Well, these songs can’t all be perfect gems.  At any rate, Alan Shepard was the first American in space on this day in 1961.  His Freedom 7 capsule went 116 miles high in a 15-minute flight, making him the first American in space. 

Soviet hero Yuri Gagarin beat him there by three weeks, and John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth the next year. But Shepard will always have pride of place on the American side.

The US Postal Service is out with the very nice tribute stamp seen above — although it’s just not the same without “44¢” written on it. has dished up this handsome infographic, with a bonus shout-out to Ham the Chimp!


See more at

Then see our biography of Alan Shepard >>

Related Biographies

Share this: