Home / National News / Astronaut Scott Carpenter, Second American to Orbit Earth, Dies


(DENVER) — Scott Carpenter, a member of NASA’s first astronaut class, the Mercury Seven, died Thursday, his daughter told ABC News. He was 88.

The cause of death was complications of a stroke he had in September, his daughter Kristen Stoever told ABC News Radio.

“We’re all shocked,” Stoever said of her father’s passing. “And sad … but filled with admiration.”

Carpenter’s death leaves John Glenn as the only surviving astronaut among the original Mercury Seven, the men chosen by NASA to take on the daunting task of flying into space. Their heroics were captured in the book The Right Stuff.

Carpenter’s first official role in the Mercury program was acting as capsule communicator during fellow astronaut John Glenn’s first space flight. Before launch, Carpenter famously said “Godspeed, John Glenn,” to his colleague.

Carpenter did leave the controls and went up into orbit for the next mission, Aurora 7. As the fourth American in space, Carpenter conducted the first experiment of observing how liquids behave while weightless, as well as capturing some of the first photos of Earth taken from space. The Aurora 7 mission lasted for a little under five hours.

In addition to his main objectives for Aurora 7, Carpenter also figured out what his predecessor, John Glenn, meant when he said there were fireflies in space. Carpenter rapped on the walls of the spacecraft and saw that Glenn’s fireflies were actually flecks of frost that had accumulated during orbit.

“He had a long life,” said Stoever. “He conquered air, space and sea.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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