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History.com - This Day in History 

May 05, 1961: The first American in space

From Cape Canaveral, Florida, Navy Commander Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. is launched into space aboard the _Freedom 7_ space capsule, becoming the first American astronaut to travel into space. The suborbital flight, which lasted 15 minutes and reached a height of 116 miles into the atmosphere, was a major triumph for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).NASA was established


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