From the Archives: 60 years ago Astronaut Scott Carpenter became the 4th American in space

Sixty years ago, Scott Carpenter became the fourth American astronaut in space and the second to orbit in space. Carpenter orbited the Earth three times in Aurora 7 in 4 hours and 54 minutes, traveling 80,000 miles.

A misdirection on his return caused him to overtake his target by 250 miles. Carpenter was one of the original seven astronauts on the Mercury Project selected by NASA in 1959.

From Vespers Tuesday, Thursday 24 May 1962:


Scott Waves From Raft

2 paramedics fell to keep the capsule on the surface


CAPE CANAVERAL – Astronaut Scott Carpenter, 27, orbited the earth three times today, but gave recovery forces restless 40 minutes before he was spotted sitting on a lifeboat in the Atlantic Ocean.

It moved a Navy patrol plane as it flew overhead and it’s obviously okay, officials said.

An Air Force rescue aircraft dropped two paramedics into the water with a 20-person life raft, supplies and equipment to keep the Aurora 7 space capsule alive.

Officials said Carpenter probably left the capsule because of the heat inside.

The Carpenter capsule descended 200 miles beyond the intended recovery area, catching planes and ships out of position.

Officials lost radio communication with him as he re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere due to an ionized layer of heat. No further communication with Carpenter could be made and his fate was unknown until the Navy plane picked up a lighthouse signal and then saw him.

Meanwhile, the two twin helicopters were sent from the Intrepid aircraft carrier 20 miles away. The destroyer John R. Pierce evaporated at lateral speed but calculated that it would not reach the area for five hours.

Virgin Island Coast Guard Station said Carpenter obviously had no problems. They saw him shortly after 11:20 a.m. San Diego time after hitting the water at 10:41.

Earlier, officials had considered ending his flight after the second orbit when he had a problem with excessive fuel use in the altitude control system.

But he was instructed to switch to manual control and save fuel. The decision was made to let the 37-year-old Navy lieutenant continue.

One minute delay

His retro rockets were apparently launched almost a minute late off the coast of California. This would explain his overtaking in the landing area.

Carpenter completed his first orbit at 7:19 and his second at 8:47, despite fuel supply problems in his capsule automatic control system.

‘Excellent Condition’

It was lifted into space at 5:45 a.m. San Diego time, over a modified Atlas ballistic missile after the smoothest countdown to date. Five minutes later, officials announced that the space capsule had been separated from the amplifier and was in the desired orbit.

His first words after the release were: “My condition is excellent”. He was currently undergoing push-ups that multiplied his weight of 155 pounds by about 7 1/2 times.

It was a perfect launch. As Carpenter flew over Bermuda, his fellow astronaut Virgil I. Grissom reported from a checkpoint that the Aurora 7 was in a safe and stable orbit.

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From the Archives: 60 years ago Astronaut Scott Carpenter became the 4th American in space Source link From the Archives: 60 years ago Astronaut Scott Carpenter became the 4th American in space

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