May 5 – National Astronaut Day

Posted on May 5, 2017

On this date in 1961, Astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space with his 15-minute sub-orbital flight.

(Sub-orbital means that he did not reach the speed - around 17,600 mph - necessary to get into orbit. Also, a sub-orbital spaceflight has an apogee - the highest point of its trajectory - that reaches "outer space," around 100 km or 62 miles, but its perigee - the closest point to Earth - does not. Obviously, since the spaceship actually returns to Earth, making its perigee zero, right?)

This historic achievement of science and technology, of courage and adventurous spirit, was chosen for the U.S. National Astronaut Day. According to the official website, we are encouraged to celebrate astronauts as leaders in all their various fields and as brave explorers who journey on behalf of us all...

And we are encouraged to believe in ourselves while reaching for the stars.

And finally, we are encouraged to express our admiration and thanks using #WeBelieveInAstronauts.


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