Thursday, October 10, 2013

Astronaut Scott Carpenter

Scott Carpenter, one of NASA's original 7 Mercury astronauts from the early 1960s, passed away today at age 88. He had recently suffered a stroke.

Carpenter was selected (along with John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Gordon Cooper, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, and Deke Slayton) for the original team of 7 Mercury astronauts, who were also the subject of the movie "The Right Stuff".

Carpenter was the 4th American in space, and the 2nd (after Glenn) to orbit the Earth. There were a few discrepancies during his flight, including running very low on fuel, and overshooting the landing area by 200 miles. Some in NASA attributed this to pilot error, and unlike the other 6, Carpenter never flew in space again. He did later take part in deep-sea exploration.

His passing leaves John Glenn as the lone surviving member of the Original 7.

New York Times obituary

CBS News obituary

I fondly remember those days in the early 1960s, when in the event of a space launch, our elementary school teachers would gather all the students into the gymnasium to watch the launch on TV. To this day, I love movies like The Right Stuff, Moon Shot, From Earth to the Moon, Failure is Not an Option, etc, etc. (In fact, I own all the above-mentioned films.)

About 10 years ago, I took my kids to a Gordon Cooper book-signing at the local mall. We've also visited Cape Canaveral twice in the past 10 years. I'm basically a 1960s' NASA nut!

Godspeed, Scott Carpenter!

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