In Brief

Happy National Astronaut Day! Watch Uniphi Events on Facebook Live

National Astronaut Day 2017 Patch
Official crew patch of National Astronaut Day 2017. (Image credit: uniphi space agency)

Friday (May 5) is National Astronaut Day, and you can celebrate by watching a lot of space-related events on Facebook Live.

A number of former NASA astronauts — including Leroy Chiao, Frank Culbertson, Clayton Anderson and Nicole Stott — will talk during a series of webcasts beginning at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT). You can watch them on the Facebook page of the Uniphi Space Agency, a talent agency for astronauts that's organizing today's events.

Today marks the second annual National Astronaut Day, which is held on May 5 to commemorate the historic flight of Alan Shepard. On May 5, 1961, Shepard became the first American to reach space, getting to a maximum altitude of 116 miles (187 kilometers) during a 15-minute suborbital flight aboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft. (Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human space traveler on April 12 of that year during the Vostok 1 orbital mission.)

You can learn more about National Astronaut Day, and how you can participate, at the celebration's official website.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.