US marks 50 years since second human spaceflight

More than 600 people marked the exact moment when the 1st American rocketed into space 50 years ago.

Last Updated: May 05, 2011, 23:51 PM IST

Cape Canaveral, Fla.: More than 600 people marked the exact moment when the first American rocketed into space 50 years ago.

Thursday`s ceremony took place at the spot where Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard blasted off on a 15-minute suborbital flight on May 5, 1961.

The crowd at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station included Shepard`s three daughters, about 100 Project Mercury workers and one of the two surviving Mercury seven astronauts, Scott Carpenter. They listened to a recording of Shepard`s journey, timed to the second of his launch at 9:34 a.m.
Shepard was the second man in space. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin beat him into space by less than a month.

Shepard later became the fifth man to walk on the moon. He died in 1998 at age 74.

Bureau Report