This is the first volume in a new miniseries called Pioneers in Early Spaceflight. These books are not intended as typical biographies but more documented histories of the major players and their accomplishments in the early space program. In fact, U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard during his lifetime never wrote or authorized a book on his life, apart from participating to some extent in the much-criticized book, “Moon Shot” which was written by a journalist. Instead, the proposed book is the story of the Mercury-Redstone program and how it led to the history-making Mercury suborbital spaceflight aboard Freedom 7. Although Shepard went on to later accomplishments with NASA, particularly as a Moon walker on the flight of Apollo 14, this book focuses on his historic space mission in May 1961 aboard Freedom 7, a 15-minute suborbital shot during which he became the first American to fly in space. It is the first account in recent memory to do this and fills in a crucial gap in our understanding of the early days of the space race.
Tells the almost forgotten story of the first manned U. S. spaceflight, Freedom 7, flown by Cdr. Alan Shepard, Jr., for NASA and the United StatesBased on exclusive interviews with Shepard and several of the surviving leading players in the programExamines the Mercury program and Shepard's flight in the context of the space race with the former USSR