Boulder astronaut Scott Carpenter, sixth man ever in space, dies at 88
Caprenter, circa 1962. (Credit: NASA via collectSPACE.com)
DENVER — Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter, the United States’ fourth astronaut to fly in space and the second to ever orbit the Earth, died early Thursday at a hospice center in Denver. He was 88.
The original Mercury 7 astronaut, a Colorado native, was being treated at the center following a recent stroke, family said. Carpenter was initially expected to make a full recovery, but his condition worsened this week.
Born in Boulder in 1925, Carpenter became a naval aviation cadet in 1943, attending Colorado College until World War II interrupted his studies. He later entered the University of Colorado but left school without a degree and received a Navy commission in 1949, the New York Times reported.
Chosen in 1959 among NASA’s first astronauts, Carpenter made his only spaceflight on May 24, 1962, when he became the sixth man ever to leave the planet, Collectspace.com reported.
During his mission, Carpenter circled the Earth three times, conducted some of the first astronaut science experiments, and consumed the first solid space food — small square cubes composed of chocolate, figs, and dates mixed with high-protein cereals, the web site said.
“I volunteered (for the mission) for a number of reasons,” Carpenter wrote in “We Seven,” according to a New York Times article. “One of these, quite frankly, was that I thought this was a chance for immortality. Pioneering in space was something I would willingly give my life for.”