The astronaut and second US citizen to orbit the Earth (after John Glenn’s flight), Scott Carpenter, has died at the age of 88. Naval aviator and test pilot, Scott Carpenter was a member of the original “Mercury Seven” group of astronauts and flew into orbit in his Mercury-Atlas mission aboard Aurora 7 on 24 May 1962. His mission lasted three orbits and nearly five hours.
Scott Carpenter never flew as an astronaut again as he was blamed for mission mistakes that left his capsule out off reaction control thruster fuel at 80,000 feet altititude after he had used too much up during the orbital portion of the flight. This had caused a change to manual control from automatic. As it was, Carpenter had earlier failed to orient his spacecraft properly before the retro-rockets burn needed to re-enter the craft, and was a few seconds late in firing these. The result was that the Aurora 7 capsule landed 420km off target and it took an hour for naval forces to recover Carpenter and his craft.
After leaving NASA, Carpenter joined the SeaLab II undersea research facility spending 30 days on the base as an “aquanaut”. Carpenter married four times and had eight children of which two died before him. The Flightglobal/Ascend space team give our condolences his family and friends as we salute Scott Carpenter.