Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter Dead at 88

Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the Earth, died on Oct. 10 in Denver reportedly due to complications from a recent stroke. He was 88. Born on May 1, 1925, in Boulder, Colo., Carpenter became a naval aviator, serving as a reconnaissance pilot during the Korean War. He was selected in 1959 as one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, and on May 24, 1962, circled the Earth three times in the Aurora 7 spacecraft. He later helped design the Apollo Lunar Landing Module, served as an aquanaut supporting Navy deep-water research, and trained astronauts underwater to prepare them for spacewalks. He retired from the Navy in 1969, and later worked with French undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau. In a statement, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Carpenter “truly helped our nation progress in space from the earliest days to the world leadership we enjoy today.” Carpenter’s death leaves John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, as the sole living member of the original seven Mercury astronauts. (See Carpenter’s official website.) (See also CBS News report, National Geographic report, and The Guardian obituary.)