Saturday, May 26, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2066, May 26th, 2012

Scott Carpenter on the cover of Life with his wife in 1962 during the week of  his flight. 


Two days ago, May 24th was the 50th anniversary of the flight of Aurora 7, the second orbital flight of the Mercy space program. Being second is never an enviable position to be in. Like Gus Grissom who followed Alan Shephard as the second American in space, Scott Carpenter following the first orbital flight by that American icon, John Glenn. This week there wasn’t a ot of coverage in the national news media of the event but that’s what comes along with being second. Carpenter however is remembered for some wild heroics on that flight. His capsule got off course and his recovery was a few hours in doubt. As a second grader who had seen the Glenn launch, the second one I heard about second hand because even though it was a big event, it was also a school day. Carpenmerr’s capsule landed 135 miles northeast of Puerto Rico. His mission was successfully regarded and this week Carpenter was honored by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation in New York City. Carpenter solved a mystery in space. When John  Glenn had made his flight, he saw some small objects that were floating around his capsule. He called them fireflies. Carpenter had the same phenomenon on his mission but later concluded the particles were actually small icicles dislodged from the capsule's exterior shell. The mystery baffled Glenn and NASA scientists. In 1965, Carpenter left NASA and became an aquanaut conquering the deep sea world. That project was called SEALAB II launched off the coast of La Jolla, Calif. On a leave of absence from NASA, Carpenter spent 30 days living and working on the ocean floor at a depth of more than 200 feet. Not straying from his NASA roots, he participated in a historical event by he speaking on the phone phone with astronauts Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad as they orbited overhead during their eight-day Gemini 5 mission. Carpenter is hailed by many to be the first person to conquer both outer and inner space. Now 87, Carpenter is happy to be remember. Both he and Glenn are the only two living astronauts from the original Mercury 7 project. His capsule, Aurora 7 is named after his Colorado roots and the street he grew up on in the Mountain state. While Carpenter might not have had the huge acclaim John Glenn got, he is remembered in his own unique way with his outer space and deep sea activities.


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