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Thursday October 10th, 2013

Museum Mourns Passing of Astronaut Scott Carpenter

One of the Original Seven Mercury Astronauts Dies at 88

(Alamogordo, New Mexico) - Malcolm Scott "Buddy" Carpenter, one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, died this morning at the age of 88. Carpenter passed away at a hospice in Denver, Colorado, from complications of a stroke he suffered last month. His death leaves John Glenn as the last surviving member of the original Mercury Seven.

IMAGE: Scott Carpenter in training.

Scott Carpenter in training.

On April 9, 1959, Carpenter was selected as one of seven Mercury astronauts, NASA's first astronaut group, and flew the second American manned orbital flight on May 24, 1962. He piloted his Aurora 7 spacecraft through three revolutions of the earth, reaching a maximum altitude of 164 miles. The spacecraft landed in the Atlantic Ocean about 1000 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral after 4 hours and 54 minutes of flight time.

He was also John Glenn's backup for the United States’ first orbital flight on Feb. 20, 1962. At launch, over the radio, Carpenter uttered the now-famous "Godspeed, John Glenn."

Among his many honors, which included the Navy's Legion of Merit and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Carpenter was also inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame at the New Mexico Museum of Space History in 1981.
Carpenter was profiled in the Summer 2012 e-publication of the New Mexico Museum of Space History's Curation Paper Number Seven: "A Commemoration of The Fiftieth Anniversary of The Flight Of Ma-7, Project Mercury". The article contains historic photos of his career, the Official NASA Summary of Commander Carpenter’s service, and transcripts of oral history interviews he gave to NASA in 1998 and 1999. To read the article, visit

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