Shepard, Alan B. (Bartlett), Jr. (19231998), a United States astronaut. On May 5, 1961, he became the first American in space, riding in the Freedom 7 capsule to an altitude of 115 miles (185 km). In 1971 he commanded the Apollo 14 moon flight and became the fifth man to walk on the moon.
Shepard was born in East Derry, New Hampshire. After graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1944, he served aboard a destroyer during World War II. He took flight training in 1947 and became a naval test pilot in 1950. Shepard was chosen as one of the seven astronauts in the Project Mercury program in 1959. During 196369, he was chief of the Astronaut Office at the Manned Spacecraft Center at Houston. Shepard was promoted to rear admiral in 1971. He retired from the navy in 1974 and became a business executive.