Science: Freedom's Flight

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For an endless, heart-stopping moment, the tall, slim rocket hung motionless —incredibly balanced above its incandescent tail. Slowly it climbed the sky, outracing the racket of its engine as it screamed toward space. In the returning silence, the amplified thump of an electronic timer beat like a pulse across the sands of Florida's Cape Canaveral. The pulse of the nation beat with it. For this was no routine rocket shoot. Riding that long, white missile as it soared aloft last week was Navy Commander Alan B. Shepard Jr., first U.S. astronaut...

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