Scott Carpenter was one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts. He was also the voice uttering the now famous phrase “Godspeed John Glenn.”
The 88 year old former Astronaut, who recently suffered a stroke, died Thursday morning in Denver, Colorado.
Retired NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz recalls working with Carpenter in the early days of the Space Program.
“Every time I watched one of those guys crawl on top of an Atlas, I thought… two of the previous five had blown up and was this the third bad one or the fourth good one?”
But looking back, Carpenter’s flight, which lasted nearly 5 hours from liftoff to splashdown, was a good one.
“Scotty was having difficulties with his attitude control systems from the second orbit on…”
The death of Scott Carpenter leaves John Glenn as the only living member of the original seven.
Former rocket scientist and spaceflight consultant James Oberg recalls the early days of the Mercury program.
“In the early days we saw the astronauts as Life Magazine and NASA portrayed them. Steely eyed, square jawed rocket men. but we later learned that they were extraordinary human beings as well.”
Oberg says there was something really special about Carpenter’s flight.
“Scott’s flight was noted for making sure that John Glenn’s flight was not a quirk. That we indeed could get someone into orbit and back. He was a man who was awestruck with spaceflight, by the view out the window. And when you sat down and saw him in person, you could just feel his whole soul exuding this awesomeness of being outside of the Earth.”