American Revolution
Clinton excludes Howe and Harnett from amnesty offer, 1776

Automotive
Driving pioneer Bertha Benz dies, 1944

Civil War
Grant and Lee clash in the Wilderness forest, 1864

Cold War
Allies end occupation of West Germany, 1955

Crime
Human remains found in suitcase near Virginia Beach, 2004

Disaster
Hail storm surprises Dallas residents, 1995

General Interest
Napoleon dies in exile, 1821

Cinco de Mayo, 1862

Six killed in Oregon by Japanese bomb, 1945

IRA militant Bobby Sands dies, 1981

Hollywood
Spider-Man is first movie to top $100 million in opening weekend, 2002

Literary
The Examiner publishes John Keats' first poem, 1816

Music
Peaches and Herb top the pop charts with "Reunited", 1979

Old West
Sitting Bull leads his people into Canada, 1877

Presidential
Reagan visits concentration camp and war cemetery, 1985

Sports
Cy Young throws perfect game, 1904


Vietnam War
U.S. forces capture Snoul, Cambodia, 1970

North Vietnamese turn back South Vietnamese relief column, 1972

World War I
Italian delegates return to Paris peace conference, 1919


World War II
Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie returns to his capital, 1941


May 5, 1961:
The first American in space












From Cape Canaveral, Florida, Navy Commander Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. is launched into space aboard the Freedom 7 space capsule, becoming the first American astronaut to travel into space. The suborbital flight, which lasted 15 minutes and reached a height of 116 miles into the atmosphere, was a major triumph for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NASA was established in 1958 to keep U.S. space efforts abreast of recent Soviet achievements, such as the launching of the world's first artificial satellite--Sputnik 1--in 1957. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the two superpowers raced to become the first country to put a man in space and return him to Earth. On April 12, 1961, the Soviet space program won the race when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was launched into space, put in orbit around the planet, and safely returned to Earth. One month later, Shepard's suborbital flight restored faith in the U.S. space program.

NASA continued to trail the Soviets closely until the late 1960s and the successes of the Apollo lunar program. In July 1969, the Americans took a giant leap forward with Apollo 11, a three-stage spacecraft that took U.S. astronauts to the surface of the moon and returned them to Earth. On February 5, 1971, Alan Shepard, the first American in space, became the fifth astronaut to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 14 lunar landing mission.
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