Kuiper in an N7 hoodie with commander stripes.

Mercury-Redstone 3

I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite dog on the Internet (every dog is my favorite dog on the Internet.)

The Mass Effect video games are some of my all-time favorites. They have spaceships! They have romance! They have alien robot cyborg monsters! In the first three games, you play as (your choice of male or female) Commander Shepard, who is bad at dancing but good at saving the galaxy. If you buy the fancy version of Mass Effect 3, your Shepard gets a hoodie like this one I decorated for Kuiper.

Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard was named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space. Shepard’s flight was the first manned mission in the Mercury program, which would include two manned suborbital flights (“Mercury-Redstone”) and four orbital flights (“Mercury-Atlas.”) MR-1 was an unmanned test flight, and MR-2 was Ham’s flight, so Shepard’s flight was MR-3. Shepard named his capsule “Freedom 7” to honor the 7 Mercury astronauts.

Freedom 7 rocketed into space on top of a Redstone on May 5, 1961. Although he was the first American in space, Shepard wasn’t the first human being. The Soviets had beat the Americans by a few weeks with Yuri Gagarin’s flight on April 12. However, that didn’t make Shepard’s flight any less exciting for the 45 million Americans viewing it on live TV.

The flight lasted just 15 minutes and 22 seconds, during which Freedom 7 reached an altitude of 116.5 miles (187.5 km.) The ride was exhilarating, but Shepard didn’t have a great view from inside; he’d accidentally left a grey filter in the periscope. Oops! He’d meant to remove it before launch, but didn’t have time, and he wasn’t able to remove it during flight without smacking the abort lever. Thus, he left it in place.

Although he could only see in black and white, Shepard still proclaimed, “What a beautiful view!” and was able to identify features on Earth like Lake Okeechobee. According to the helicopter pilot, his first words upon climbing into the recovery chopper were “Man, what a ride.”

Extra trivia: red stripes on spacesuit arms were used on Apollo 14 and beyond to designate the commander. The first person to sport them? Commander Alan Shepard.

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BuiEfzijpP7/

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