Original Mercury 7 Astronaut Scott Carpenter...

Original Mercury 7 Astronaut Scott Carpenter Passes Away at Age 88

San Diego, 10.10.2013

San Diego, CA – October 10, 2013 - The second American to orbit the Earth, Scott Carpenter, has passed away at age 88. Carpenter was selected as one of America’s original seven astronauts in 1959. He served as the backup pilot for John Glenn, who made America’s first manned orbital flight in February 1962. Carpenter was not originally selected to fly the next mission, but when fellow astronaut Deke Slayton was forced to withdraw from the flight on medical grounds, Carpenter used his extensive training with John Glenn to prepare for the flight at short notice. Launched on May 24, 1962, Carpenter circled the Earth three times.

Problems with a malfunctioning pitch horizon scanner forced Carpenter to perform a manual re-entry, proving the worth of a human pilot when automatic spacecraft systems fail. The problem was fixed for subsequent space missions.

 

Following his flight, Carpenter participated in the Navy’s SEALAB Project as an aquanaut, spending 30 days leaving on the sea floor off the coast of La Jolla in 1965, conducting deep-sea diving experiments and proving that people could live underwater for extended time periods.

 

A full-size reproduction of the Mercury spacecraft is hung in the Museum’s Pavilion of Flight. A unique painting of Scott Carpenter is displayed at the Museum’s entrance as a tribute to him. Carpenter was also inducted into the Museum’s Hall of Fame in 2008. At the time of his Hall of Fame induction, the Museum had a Star Trek exhibition, and Carpenter enjoyed exploring the Star Trek transporter set, uttering the immortal line, “Beam me up, Scotty!”

 

“Scott Carpenter was one of the kindest gentlemen I ever met and a true hero and inspiration for future generations,” said Jim Kidrick, president & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “We will miss him very much and as one of our original Mercury 7, he can never be replaced.”

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California's official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and it was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. Visit www.sandiegoairandspace.org for more information. Currently on display: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! a special exhibition highlighting the weird and wacky life of Robert Ripley. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. The Museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with admissions until 4:00 p.m. (winter hours) and 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (summer hours). Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

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