"At 9:34 on the morning of May 5, 1961, as America watched on black-and-white TV, the Redstone blasted off, cleared the pad and rushed skyward. Seconds later, Shepard radioed down, "Ah, Roger liftoff, and the clock is started."
Two minutes and 42 seconds later, the engine burn ended, and Shepard was traveling faster than any American before him: 5,134 mph. The capsule separated from the booster rocket, and he was weightless. He took control, firing retrorockets on NASA's commands, adjusting the Mercury's position on all three axes."