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50 Years Ago

Science Past from the issue of May 20, 1961

Science Past from the issue of May 20, 1961

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1:19pm, May 6, 2011

U.S. SPACEMAN A-OKAY — The United States broke the space barrier May 5 when Alan B. Shepard, Jr., 37-year-old astronaut, rode the Mercury capsule 302 miles down-range from Cape Canaveral, Fla. At 9:34 a.m. EST the Redstone rocket carrying the Mercury capsule lifted off the launching pad and took the astronaut for a 15-minute trip that made him exclaim, “Man, what a ride!” … Shepard had some difficulty breathing and seeing as he went into space and back, but no more than he was prepared for. The stress on his body, including a “grayout” of his eyes, was less than he had experienced in training.… As he came back to earth, he experienced as much as 11 times the gravity of earth, or felt 11 times his normal weight.

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