America is a nation built by pioneers, and has perpetuated a pioneer spirit that is arguably unique in the history of the world. Although a very young nation, America has been lauded over the years as being innovative, hard working, adaptive and above all, of having that "can-do" spirit.
Certainly the early settlers in America from Europe were pioneers. They braved an undeveloped land and, often, hostility from the societies they had left and peoples they sought to displace. Yet they persevered, rebelled, fought, and finally became independent from their home country overlords. The second generation of pioneers expanded across the New World and eventually, the United States of America was established, from sea to shining sea.
American pioneers pushed onward, moving from uncharted territories within the country, including mountaintops and ocean depths, to finally flying into the air and into space itself.
Alan Shepard was the first American pioneer in space in 1961, followed quickly by his peers and colleagues during project Mercury. This was the beginning of the so-called "Space Race," which reached its zenith when American pioneers beat the Soviets to the moon in an astonishingly short period of time.