Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts
Scott Carpenter, one of America’s original Mercury Seven astronauts, has the unique distinction of being the first human being to conduct missions in both outer- and inner-space.
Carpenter was born in Boulder, Colorado, on May 1, 1925. He studied Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder before joining the U.S. Navy. He was commissioned in 1949, received flight training at Pensacola, FL, and Corpus Christi, TX, and became a Naval aviator in 1951. During the Korean War he served with Patrol Squadron SIX, flying anti-submarine, ship surveillance and aerial mining missions in the Yellow Sea, South China Sea and Formosa Straits. He attended the Navy Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md., in 1954 and subsequently was assigned to the Electronics Test Division of the Naval Air Test Center.
Carpenter was selected one of the original seven Mercury astronauts in 1959. He flew the second American orbital flight in a Mercury capsule on May 24, 1962. He piloted his Aurora 7 spacecraft through three revolutions of the Earth, reaching a maximum altitude of 164 miles. A slight misalignment of the spacecraft on retrofire caused him to land 250 miles beyond the intended target in the Atlantic after a flight of 4 hours 54 minutes.
On leave from NASA, Carpenter participated in the Navy’s Man-in-the-Sea Project as as Aquanaut in the SEALAB II program off the coast of La Jolla, Calif., in 1965. During the experiment, Carpenter spent 30 days living and working on the ocean floor. He returned to NASA as executive assistant to the director of the Manned Spacecraft Center and was active in design of the Apollo Lunar Landing Module and in underwater space walk crew training.
In 1967, he joined the Navy’s Deep Submergence Systems Project as director of aquanaut operations during the SEALAB III experiment. He retired from the Navy in 1969 and founded and was chief executive officer of Sea Sciences, Inc., a venture capital corporation active in developing programs aimed at enhanced utilization of ocean resources and improved health of the oceans.
Carpenter continued to apply his knowledge of aerospace and ocean engineering as a consultant to industry and the private sector. He wrote two novels about the Navy SEALS, “The Steel Albatross”, and a sequel, “Deep Flight.” As a Founder of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, he served on its Board of Directors. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 11, 1990.
Scott Carpenter passed away at the age of 88 on October 10, 2013.