Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Monday, October 04, 2004

NASA - NASA Mourns Loss of Original Mercury 7 Astronaut Gordon Cooper: "

Glenn Mahone/Bob Jacobs
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1600)

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Bruce Buckingham
Kennedy Space Center, Florida
(Phone: 321/867-2468)
Oct. 04, 2004
RELEASE : 04-333

NASA Mourns Loss of Original Mercury 7 Astronaut Gordon Cooper

Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr., (Colonel, USAF, Ret.) an original Mercury 7 astronaut, died earlier today at his home in Ventura, Calif. He was 77 years old. Cooper piloted the sixth and last flight of the Mercury program and later commanded Gemini V.

'As one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, Gordon Cooper was one of the faces of America's fledgling space program. He truly portrayed the right stuff, and he helped gain the backing and enthusiasm of the American public, so critical for the spirit of exploration. My thoughts and prayers are with Gordon's family during this difficult time,' said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe.

'Cooper's efforts and those of his fellow Mercury astronauts, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra and Deke Slayton, serve as reminders of what drives us to explore. They also remind us that to succeed any vision for exploration needs the support of the American people,' Administrator O'Keefe said.

The youngest of the original seven astronauts, Cooper's flight in his Faith 7 spacecraft stretched the capabilities of the Mercury capsule to the limits. The mission, May 15 and 16, 1963, lasted more than 34 hours and 22 orbits. That was more than three times the longest U.S. human space flight until that time, and far exceeded the initial design capability of the capsule. During his flight, Cooper became the first astronaut to sleep in space.

"NASA's astronauts extend their deepest sympathies to Gordon Cooper's family," said Kent Rominger, chief of the astronaut office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "He was among the first pioneers in space and his achievements inspired many of us to pursue our dreams of exploring our universe. We salute his many accomplishments as an astronaut and as a husband and father. He will be truly missed," he said.


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