Friday, December 08, 2006
The Navy christened the United States Naval Ship Alan Shepard (T-AKE-3) – honoring New Hampshire native Alan B. Shepard Jr., the first American in space. The christening was held in San Diego. A rocket-powered suborbital flight on May 5, 1961, made Sephard, of Derry, the first American man in space. He died in 1998.Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., said the christening of the Alan Shepard honors the legacy and historic contributions of the state’s native son. He said Shepard led a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy and at NASA and commissioning a ship in his name is a fitting tribute to him. The Shepard is a naval supply ship and is longer than two football fields. Sununu’s father, former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu, delivered the ceremony’s keynote address at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company.Shepard was born and raised in East Derry. In 1971, Shepard led the Apollo XIV mission to the moon. He was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and received two NASA Distinguished Service Medals. The primary mission of the new combat support shift will be to deliver supplies to Navy ships, transfer cargo, and provide logistical support to ships within a single carrier strike group. The ship measures 689 feet long and has a top speed of 20 knots.