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One of the original “Mercury 7” astronauts, Scott Carpenter, has died. He was the sixth person to fly in space; the fourth American to fly in space and the second US astronaut to orbit Earth. Carpenter died on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at age 88 after suffering a recent stroke. With the death of Carpenter, the only remaining surviving member of the original US astronauts is John Glenn.
collectSPACE is reporting that Carpenter was being cared for at a hospice center in Denver when he passed. Carpenter was initially expected to make a full recovery from the stroke, but his condition worsened this week, sources close to his family shared.
Carpenter was chosen as an astronaut in 1959. He launched in his Aurora 7 capsule on May 24, 1962 in the fourth manned mission and the second orbital flight of the Mercury program. The video below celebrates the Aurora 7 flight, which successfully made three Earth orbits. But a targeting mishap during reentry took the spacecraft about 400 km (250 miles) off course, delaying recovery of Carpenter and the capsule. Carpenter was picked up after nearly 3 hours in the water, and the Mercury capsule was not retrieved until about 6 hours later.
Carpenter said of his flight, “The zero-g sensation and the visual sensation of space flight are transcending experiences, and I wish everybody could have them.”
Carpenter was born on n May 1, 1925. He is survived by his wife, seven children, two step-children and six grandchildren.