Served as a Navy fighter pilot and test pilot with over 8,000 flying hours.
Selected as one of seven astronauts to participate in Project Mercury, the United States’ first manned space program.
First American to make a suborbital flight in the Project Mercury program on Freedom 7, May 5th, 1961. As the spacecraft sped upward on its long arced flight and neared a maximum altitude of 116 miles, Shepard experienced weightlessness for five minutes, performed 27 major tasks, and sent 70 communications back to Earth.
Presented with NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal by President Kennedy for his 1961 space flight.
Named Chief of the Astronaut Office of NASA where he was responsible for training astronauts for ten Gemini-Titan and three Apollo-Saturn missions in the next five years.
Spent more than 33 hours on the moon in 1971 as commander of Apollo 14. It was on this trip that Shepard attached a golf club head to his hand tool and whacked away at several balls. He reportedly made the first “crater-in-one.”
Received New York City’s Medal of Honor along with the crew of Apollo 14.