Astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space in 1961. He later developed an inner ear problem that grounded him from space flight until an operation cured him. NASA hide caption toggle caption NASA Shots - Health News How To Decide If Space Tourists Are Fit To Fly December 13, 2012 Commercial space travel is becoming a reality. Now people who have longed to go into space can buy a ticket, if they've got the cash. But are they healthy enough to make the voyage?