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Scott Carpenter, who was the second American astronaut to orbit the earth, has died at age 88.
Carpenter, born Malcolm Scott Carpenter, died on Thursday in Denver, wife Patty Carpenter said. According to The New York Times, she did not give a cause of death. However, he recently suffered a stroke.
The Associated Press reports that Carpenter was a member of the historic Mercury 7 “Right Stuff” team from the early 1960s. He gave John Glenn the sendoff “Godspeed John Glenn” when Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. Glenn is now the last surviving member of the team.
Carpenter “was in the vanguard of our space program — the pioneers who set the tone for our nation's pioneering efforts beyond Earth and accomplished so much for our nation. ... We will miss his passion, his talent and his lifelong commitment to exploration,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.
Carpenter orbited Earth in an Aurora 7 capsule, and made a tense landing on May 24, 1962, missing the landing target by 288 miles. That landing severed his relationship with NASA and he decided to change focus. Instead of exploring the oceans of space, he turned his attention to the ocean on Earth. He drew inspiration from Jacques Cousteau and used NASA equipment to explore the sea.
He was born in Boulder, Colorado on May 1, 1925 and served in the Navy during World War II and also flew planes in the Korean War.
image: Wikimedia Commons