Laura Shepard Churchley, a daughter of America’s first astronaut Alan Shepard (1923∼1998), completed a space trip in the “New Shepard” run by private space company Blue Origin on Saturday. Her trip in the spacecraft named after her father came exactly 60 years after her father traveled into the space for the first time, bringing the public’s attention to space trips by both the father and daughter.
The late Shepard successfully flew into the space on the first human spaceflight “Mercury” by NASA in May 1961, for the first time in the U.S. and for the second time in the world. A month prior to his space flight, Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin flew into the space in the Soviet Union's Sputnik spacecraft for the first time in history. Shepard also successfully completed expedition to the Moon in the Apollo 14 in 1971. He made history at the time by becoming the first human to hit a golf ball on the Moon. It was part of scientific experiment to monitor movement of the ball in the low gravity setting.
Churchley took the ride into space free of charge at Blue Origin’s invitation. Upon returning to earth after a 10-minute space flight, said, “Returning to earth I thought of my father. He would not enjoyed the trip while returning as much as I do.” She felt sorry that her father had to return to earth while working, unlike herself who did not have to operate the spacecraft.
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