First U.S Space Flight
Today, in 1961, the US made their first venture into space. Alan Sheppard Jr was launched on Freedom 7 and spent 15 minutes in the outer atmosphere while experiencing weightlessness for 5 minutes. However, he was not the first person in space. This accolade belongs to Yuri Gagarin, who spent 108 minutes in orbit (something the US did not achieve with the Freedom 7). Gagarin made his launch on April 12th of the same year. Sheppard later commanded the Apollo 14 mission and became the 5th man to walk on the moon.
From the Earth to the Moon is a fantastic series, now available on DVD, which gives a dramatic account of the race to the moon. Produced by Tom Hanks, the series begins the story with Yuri Gagarin entering orbit and follows the subsequent Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. The series is excellent and uses real news footage, unseen videos from Russian sources as well as dramatic scenes to tell this extraordinary story of human endeavour. The box set is available from Amazon.