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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 5:30 EDT

USPS Immortalizes Alan Shepard With Stamp

May 4, 2011

The U.S. Postal Service unveiled a stamp on Wednesday that honored Alan Shepard, the first American to orbit the Earth.

Shepard became the first American to reach space on May 5, 1961 and later became one of only a dozen men to walk on the moon. 

Shepard also became famous for hitting a golf shot on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission.

NASA Administer Charles Bolden said the Kennedy Space Center will celebrate the anniversary of Shepard’s first flight as one of the key moments in human spaceflight.

“We should celebrate it,” Bolden, who flew on four shuttle missions, said in a statement. “We should really pay attention to what we did in those historic days.”

The U.S. Postal Service unveiled the stamp that honors the Mercury program and Shepard’s historic launch during a ceremony at the Rocket Garden of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.

Shepard boarded a Redstone rocket named Freedom 7 and flew 116 miles away from Earth and 303 miles from the launch pad.

President John F. Kennedy called Shepard after he was retrieved from the ocean he had landed in.

Shepard said during an interview with officials at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston that the call, “was a surprise to me as an individual, and the first of many surprises, really, which comprised not only the president’s reaction to the manned space program, but the public’s reaction as well.”

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