Shepard (1923-1998) lifted off from Pad 5 at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on May 5, 1961, to become the first American in space.

The small Mercury capsule he named “Freedom 7” was propelled into space by a slim but powerful Redstone missile. The suborbital flight reached an altitude of 116.5 miles (space begins at 100 miles altitude or 500,000 feet) at a maximum speed of 5,180 miles per hour.

Shepard served as Chief of the Astronaut Office, Johnson Space Center, from 1963 until 1969.

In 1971, he commanded Apollo 14, the third manned mission to the moon, and became the fifth man to walk on its surface.

He served as Chief of the Astronaut Office again from 1971 until 1974.

With 8,000 hours of flying time, Sheppard logged time in numerous aircraft, including the F8U Crusader and the F11F Tigercat.