On April 12, 1961, Russia launched the first man into space, leaving a stunned American Space Program in limbo. A call to arms by President John F. Kennedy revitalizes the sleeping giant and the nation is united in one aim: to land a man on the moon before the decade's end.
The Mercury Program is launched on May 5th, 1961, when Freedom 7 takes Alan B. Shepard, Jr. for a 15 minute, 22 second flight into outer space. But there's a lot to be learned in a short time before man can actually go the distance. Astronauts like Jim Lovell, Buzz Aldrin, Ed White, Neil Armstrong, and more will have to risk their lives before the first Apollo can reach for the skies.