48 Alan Shepard Quotes about Moon and Space

Alan Shepard was an astronaut, naval aviator and test pilot.

He was the second man and first American to fly into space.

Selected for NASA’s first astronaut class, he joined the ranks of America’s space pioneers.

Alan Shepard quotes

Here is a collection of the top quotes by Alan Shepard.

Best Alan Shepard Quotes

1. “When I first looked back at the Earth, standing on the Moon, I cried.” ~ (Alan Shepard).


2. “I must admit, maybe I am a piece of history after all.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

3. “It’s a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realize that one’s safety factor was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

4. “Why don’t you fix your little problem and light this candle?” ~ (Alan Shepard).

5. “Whether you are an astronomer or a life scientist, geophysicist, or a pilot, you’ve got to be there because you believe you are good in your field, and you can contribute, not because you are going to get a lot of fame or whatever when you get back.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

6. “I realized up there that our planet is not infinite. It’s fragile. That may not be obvious to a lot of folks, and it’s tough that people are fighting each other here on Earth instead of trying to get together and live on this planet. We look pretty vulnerable in the darkness of space.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

7. “We’re going to see passengers in space stations in 15 years, who will be able to buy a ticket and spend a weekend in space.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

8. “You’ve done it in the simulator so many times, you don’t have a real sense of being excited when the flight is going on. You’re excited before, but as soon as the liftoff occurs, you are busy doing what you have to do.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

9. “Roger, liftoff, and the clock is started.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

10. “I think about the personal accomplishment, but there’s more of a sense of the grand achievement by all the people who could put this man on the moon.” ~ (Alan Shepard).


11. “Al is on the surface. And it’s been a long way, but we’re here.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

12. “You know, being a test pilot isn’t always the healthiest business in the world.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

Popular Alan Shepard Quotes

13. “The excitement really didn’t start to build until the trailer – which was carrying me, with a space suit with ventilation and all that sort of stuff – pulled up to the launch pad.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

14. “We worked with the engineers in the design and construction and testing phases in those various areas, then we would get back together at the end of the week and brief each other as to what had gone on.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

15. “Obviously I was challenged by becoming a Naval aviator, by landing aboard aircraft carriers and so on.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

16. “You have to be there not for the fame and glory and recognition and being a page in a history book, but you have to be there because you believe your talent and ability can be applied effectively to operation of the spacecraft.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

17. “I know you’re all saying I can go to the moon but I can’t find Pasadena.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

18. “If somebody’d said before the flight, ‘Are you going to get carried away looking at the Earth from the Moon?’ I would have say, ‘No, no way.’ But yet when I first looked back at the Earth, standing on the Moon, I cried.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

19. “Unfortunately, the suit is so stiff, I can’t do this with two hands, but I’m going to try a little sand-trap shot here.” ~ (Alan Shepard).


20. “Got more dirt than ball. Here we go again.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

21. “I just wanted to be the first one to fly for America, not because I’d end up in the pages of history books.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

22. “I can hit it farther on the moon. But actually, my swing is better here on Earth.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

Top Alan Shepard Quotes

23. “We need a continuing presence in space.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

24. “Later, in the early teens, I used to ride my bike every Saturday morning to the nearest airport, ten miles away, push airplanes in and out of the hangars, and clean up the hangars.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

25. “So everything turned out fine, and we were given the opportunity to go to Washington and be briefed on the project of man in space, and given the opportunity to choose whether we wanted to get involved or not.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

26. “I think all of us certainly believed the statistics which said that probably 88% chance of mission success and maybe 96% chance of survival. And we were willing to take those odds.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

27. “I didn’t mind studying. Obviously math and the physical science subjects interested me more than some of the more artistic subjects, but I think I was a pretty good student.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

28. “The fact that every part of this ship was built by the low bidder.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

29. “Of course, in our grade school, in those days, there were no organized sports at all. We just went out and ran around the school yard for recess.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

Famous Alan Shepard Quotes

30. “Miles and miles and miles.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

31. “We had some adverse conditions in the ’60s, in the ’70s and the ’80s. The agency has risen above that in the past and will rise above that again.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

32. “I woke up an hour before I was supposed to, and started going over the mental checklist: where do I go from here, what do I do? I don’t remember eating anything at all, just going through the physical, getting into the suit. We practiced that so much, it was all rote.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

33. “We wanted to be in great shape, we wanted to be able to cope with zero gravity, we wanted to be able to cope with accelerations and decelerations and so on. So all of us trained so that we were probably in the best physical condition we had ever been in up until that point.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

34. “I’d like to say I was smart enough to finish six grades in five years, but I think perhaps the teacher was just glad to get rid of me.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

35. “Then I thought, with the same clubhead speed, the ball’s going to go at least six times as far. There’s absolutely no drag, so if you do happen to spin it, it won’t slice or hook ’cause there’s no atmosphere to make it turn.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

36. “And I think that still is true of this business – which is basically research and development – that you probably spend more time in planning and training and designing for things to go wrong, and how you cope with them, than you do for things to go right.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

37. “But when I was selected, after my very first tour of squadron duty, to become one of the youngest candidates for the test pilot school, I began to realize, maybe you are a little bit better.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

38. “Of course I was delighted the flight was over, but I still had to worry about cleaning up inside the cabin, I had to worry about the hatch, how to get in the sling, and so on.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

39. “There’s no question that all the generations got excited about the first flights, with Kennedy’s inspiration to go to the moon, leaving the planet for the first time, and fortunately coming back.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

40. “We also knew it would be difficult, because of the financial condition of the family, for me to go to college.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

41. “The pilot looked at his cues of attitude and speed and orientation and so on and responded as he would from the same cues in an airplane, but there was no way it flew the same. The simulators had showed us that.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

42. “The suit was so clumsy, being pressurized, it was impossible to get two hands comfortably on the handle and it’s impossible to make any kind of a turn. It was kind of a one-handed chili-dip.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

43. “I think the sense of family and family achievement, plus the discipline which I received there from that one-room school were really very helpful in what I did later on.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

44. “Because of the suit I was wearing, I couldn’t make a good pivot on the swing. And I had to hit the ball with one hand.” ~ (Alan Shepard).


45. “The first plane ride was in a homemade glider my buddy and I built. Unfortunately we didn’t get more than four feet off the ground, because it crashed.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

Great Alan Shepard Quotes

46. “The same way people are now paying a couple thousand dollars to fly to other parts of the world, people will be paying $50,000 to spend a weekend on a space station.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

47. “You may not have any extra talent, but maybe you are just paying more attention to what you are doing.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

48. “If you don’t use your experience, your past is wasted, and you are betraying yourself.” ~ (Alan Shepard).

Short Biography of Alan Shepard

Alan B. Shepard Jr. was the first American to go to space launching aboard Freedom 7 on May 5, 1961.

A naval aviator and test pilot he joined NASA’s original Mercury Seven astronauts.

Full Name Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr.
Born November 18, 1923 in Derry, New Hampshire, U.S.
Died July 21, 1998 in Pebble Beach, California, U.S.
Education United States Naval Academy (BS), Naval War College (MA)
Spouse Louise Brewer (m. 1945)
Children 2
Awards Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Distinguished Service Medal (2), NASA Exceptional Service Medal
Space Career NASA astronaut
Rank Rear Admiral, USN
Time in Space 9d 0h 57m
Selection NASA Group 1 (1959)
Total EVAs 2
Total EVA Time 9h 23m
Missions Mercury-Redstone 3, Apollo 14
First Space Flight Mercury-Redstone 3
Height 1.8 m
Retirement July 31, 1974

Despite being grounded due to Ménière disease in 1964 Shepard made a comeback and led the Apollo 14 mission to the Moon in 1971 where he famously hit golf balls.

After serving as head of NASA’s astronaut office he retired in 1974 to enter private business.

Shepard received top honors including the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Quick Facts about Alan Shepard

  • Alan Shepard was the first American to journey into space during the Freedom 7 mission on May 5, 1961.
  • He reached an altitude of 116.5 miles in a suborbital flight as part of the Mercury program.
  • Shepard was part of the original Mercury Seven astronauts selected to pioneer the U.S. space efforts.
  • Known for his calm under pressure, Shepard earned the nickname “The Chief” for his leadership.
  • In 1971, he famously played golf on the moon, becoming the only person to do so.
  • Commanding Apollo 14, Shepard walked on the moon, a feat only achieved by five people at the time.
  • Born in East Derry, New Hampshire, on November 18, 1923, Shepard’s early life was marked by a love for aviation.
  • Before NASA, he was a Navy test pilot, honing his skills in high-performance aircraft.
  • Shepard also served as a fighter pilot in the Korean War, flying numerous combat missions.
  • He was the first to manually control a spacecraft during his historic first spaceflight.
  • Shepard received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor for his contributions to space exploration.
  • A bout with Ménière’s disease temporarily grounded him, but he returned to spaceflight after treatment.
  • His work on the Lunar Module helped shape the success of the Apollo missions.
  • After retiring in 1974, Shepard took on business ventures, including a stint as a CEO.
  • The Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded to him by President Carter in 1978.
  • Shepard co-authored “Moon Shot,” providing an insider’s view of the Apollo missions.
  • He passed away on July 21, 1998, but his legacy continues to inspire.
  • The U.S. Postal Service honored him with a stamp in 2016, recognizing his space exploration role.
  • Shepard’s spacesuit from his first mission is displayed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
  • Over his career, he logged more than 216 hours in space.
  • East Derry celebrates its hometown hero annually with the Alan Shepard Celebration.
  • His descent from Mayflower passengers and participation in World War II add depth to his story.
  • Shepard’s education at a one-room schoolhouse and later the Naval Academy set the stage for his achievements.
  • His near-expulsion from flight school showcases his determination and resilience.
  • Shepard’s presence in Tokyo Bay during Japan’s surrender in WWII marks a historic moment.
  • The Freedom 7 launch delay led to an unconventional solution for Shepard’s discomfort, showcasing the pragmatism required in space exploration.
  • Yuri Gagarin’s flight before Shepard’s added fuel to the space race, emphasizing the competitive nature of early space exploration.
  • Shepard’s battle with vertigo and subsequent recovery highlights the physical challenges faced by astronauts.
  • His initial assignment to Apollo 13, and the switch to Apollo 14, shows the unpredictability of space missions.

Top Questions about Alan Shepard

What happened to Alan Shepard during the Apollo 14 mission?

Alan Shepard encountered a glitch in the Lunar module on Apollo 14, nearly triggering an automatic return to orbit during the Moon landing phase.

What health issue did Alan Shepard face?

Shepard was grounded in 1963 due to Ménière’s disease, causing severe dizziness and nausea.

Did Alan Shepard go to the Moon more than once?

No, Shepard visited the Moon once but performed two moonwalks during the Apollo 14 mission.

What was the altitude and distance of Shepard’s first space flight?

On the Freedom 7 flight, Shepard reached an altitude of 186 km (116 miles) and traveled 486 km (302 miles).

How long was Alan Shepard in space?

Shepard spent 216 hours and 57 minutes in space, with 9 hours and 17 minutes on the Moon’s surface.

What did Alan Shepard say about the Moon’s surface?

Shepard described the Moon as a huge sand trap with very fine dust.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

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