Flight of the Aurora: Remembering the Mission of Scott Carpenter (Part 2)

Scott Carpenter, America’s fourth man in space and second to orbit the Earth. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this week, Scott Carpenter became America’s second man in orbit. He was one of the most accomplished members of the “Mercury Seven”. In fact, at a December 1960 peer vote, his contemporary John Glenn had […]

Flight of the Aurora: Remembering the Mission of Scott Carpenter (Part 1)

Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter lifts off from Cape Canaveral on 24 May 1962 in his Aurora 7 capsule. The fourth American in space and second American to orbit Earth, Carpenter spent nearly five hours testing equipment and taking photographs before splashing down. Photo Credit: NASA

More than a half-century has now passed since America […]

'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 […]

'What a Beautiful View': The 15 Minutes of Freedom 7

Alan Shepard is hoisted aboard the helicopter, deftly piloted by Wayne Koons, after completing his 15-minute suborbital flight. The patch of fluorescent green marker dye in the water around Freedom 7 is particularly obvious. Photo Credit: NASA

In the half-hour between 9:30 and 10 a.m. Eastern time on 5 May 1961, the United States […]

Retro Space Images: John Glenn Aboard Freedom 7

Photo Credit: NASA / Retro Space Images

Back-Up Pilot: Project Mercury astronaut John Glenn is shown in the cockpit of the MR-3 (Freedom 7) spacecraft at Launch Complex 5 in April 1961. Glenn was serving as back-up pilot to fellow astronaut Alan Shepard. The following month, on May 5, 1961, Shepard would become the […]

'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.” […]

Retro Space Images: Hoping for a Launch

Photo Credit: NASA / Retro Space Images

Zooming In: Photographers perched near Complex 17 have Alan Shepard’s Redstone rocket at Complex 5 in their viewfinders. A classic Chevrolet station wagon sits in the foreground. The attempted launch of the first American in space was scrubbed on this morning of May 2, 1961. The nation […]

From ‘Greasy Grissom’ to ‘Gruff Gus’: The Story of America’s Second Man in Space (Part 2)

The attempted rescue of the Liberty Bell 7 capsule from the waters of the Atlantic on 21 July 1961. After this image was taken, it would be 38 years—long after Gus Grissom’s death—before the spacecraft was recovered and again saw the light of day. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty-two years ago this very day, a […]

From ‘Greasy Grissom’ to ‘Gruff Gus’: The Story of America’s Second Man in Space (Part 1)

Gus Grissom (in suit, right) accompanies Al Shepard to his Freedom 7 capsule in May 1961. Two months later, Grissom would fly his own suborbital Mercury mission aboard Liberty Bell 7. Photo Credit: NASA / Retro Space Images

Had Gus Grissom lived longer, wrote Deke Slayton in his autobiography, Deke, he would have been […]