'The Right Man': Remembering Gordon Cooper's Faith 7 Mission (Part 2)

Faith 7 descends to a splashdown on 16 May 1963, after Project Mercury’s longest mission of 34 hours. Photo Credit: NASA

Early on 14 May 1963, a hotshot pilot lay on his back in a tiny capsule, atop a converted ballistic missile, and steeled himself to be blasted into space. On Project Mercury’s final […]

'How About Now?' Remembering Gordon Cooper's Faith 7 Mission (Part 1)

Gordon Cooper is extracted from the Faith 7 capsule, on the deck of the USS Kearsarge on 16 May 1963. The astronaut’s 34-hour, 22-orbit mission proved as colorful as Cooper himself. Photo Credit: NASA

More than a half-century ago, on 15 May 1963, America launched astronaut Gordon Cooper on its longest manned space mission […]

'Somewhere Important to Go': The Need for Apollo 10 (Part 1)

Over the years, many have questioned the need for Apollo 10 and why it could not be retasked to perform a lunar landing. In reality, the mission was critical in clearing up many unknowns before a landing could go ahead. Photo Credit: NASA

In the annals of space history, few dates are more important […]

'Eight Days in a Garbage Can': The Mission of Gemini V (Part 1)

Illustrating the cramped nature of their eight-day home, astronauts Pete Conrad (background) and Gordo Cooper are in jubilant spirits ahead of their 21 August 1965 launch. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost five decades have passed since a mission which Pete Conrad once described as “the longest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.” […]

'The Right Man': A Restoration of Faith (Part 2)

Atop a converted Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile, America launches its fourth man into orbit on 15 May 1963. Gordon Cooper’s 34-hour, 22-orbit voyage aboard Faith 7 would be NASA’s most challenging space mission to date. Photo Credit: NASA

Early on 14 May 1963, a hotshot pilot lay on his back in a tiny capsule, […]

'How About Now?' The Faith in Gordon Cooper (Part 1)

Fifty years ago, on 15 May 1963, America launched astronaut Gordon Cooper on its longest manned space mission to date. In doing so, NASA began to take strides toward meeting President John Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade. The humiliation of Yuri Gagarin’s orbital flight had been […]

50 Years Since Sigma 7: “Solved By a Human”

Wally Schirra looks on as artist Cecelia ‘Cece’ Bibby stencils the Sigma 7 logo onto the side of the spacecraft. “Sigma,” wrote Schirra in his autobiography, “a Greek symbol for the sum of the elements of an equation, stands for engineering excellence. That was my goal – engineering excellence. I would not settle for […]

50 Years Since Sigma 7: A Tale of Turtles

Signed image of Dee O’Hara with Wally Schirra’s enormous urine specimen bottle. Photo Credit: NASA/Wallyschirra.com

Urine samples were part and parcel of an astronaut’s medical regimen in the days and weeks surrounding a mission. For the Mercury Seven, their nurse, Dolores ‘Dee’ O’Hara, was all-powerful. The astronauts feared that the doctors, whilst highly educated, […]

Pad 14: A Place of History and Destiny (Part 2)

Gordon Cooper arrives at the base of the Pad 14 gantry on the morning of 15 May 1963, to become the last man to be launched from this historic site. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, America launched its first man into orbit around the Earth. John Glenn spent five hours aloft, completed three […]

Pad 14: A Place of History and Destiny

Fifty years ago, in 1962, Pad 14 provided the stage for America's first manned orbital mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifteen years ago, the 45th Space Wing, based at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, began the laborious process of restoring one of the most important landmarks in America’s early space programme. Led by Lieutenant-Colonel […]