Even with all the problems, Shepard piloted the Lunar Module Antares to the most accurate landing of the entire Apollo program. Shepard became the fifth and, at the age of 47, the oldest man to walk on the Moon, and the only one of the Mercury Seven astronauts to do so.
After the Mercury-Atlas 10 mission was canceled, Shepard was designated as the Commander of the first crewed Gemini mission, with Thomas P. Stafford chosen as his pilot.
On January 19, 1961, Robert R. Gilruth, the director of NASA’s Space Task Group, informed the seven astronauts that Shepard had been chosen for the first American crewed mission into space.
Although the Shepards were well off, the children were not coddled. Their father valued work and made sure each child performed their share of domestic chores. Alan’s father was a stern and serious disciplinarian, Alan inherited a stoicism and toughness of character from him. But, Alan was closer to his mother and got his playfulness from her.
In the Astronaut Office, it was his intellectual bent that set him apart from some of the other pilots, along with a certain hard edge.
A Saturn V liftoff is spectacular, and the launch of Apollo 11 was no exception. But it didn’t give the audience any surprises. To the three Gemini-experienced pilots, who likened the sensation to the boost of a Titan II, it was a normal launch.
As a Smoke Jumper, Roosa parachuted into at least four active fires in Oregon and California during the 1953 fire season.
There were some people who wondered why America’s first man in space Alan Shepard, at age forty-seven, having acquired fame, wealth, and status as an American hero, would risk his life to go to the moon.