• photo of astronaut Scott Carpenter

    Caption: Scott Carpenter in the Mercury simulator at Cape Canaveral, Florida

    Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter

    Our school was named after one of the pioneers of the United States space program. Scott Carpenter was born in Boulder, Colo., on May 1, 1925. He attended the University of Colorado from 1945 to 1949 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

    He served as a test pilot of experimental aircraft from 1995 – 1958. In April 1959, Carpenter was assigned to NASA’s Space Task Group where he served as a Project Mercury astronaut. He was eventually assigned as John Glenn’s alternate for the United States’ first manned orbital space flight. Astronaut Carpenter then became commander of the second US orbital space flight.

    He named his craft Aurora 7 after the Roman goddess of the dawn, explaining that the Mercury Project represented the dawn of the space age which would bring light and knowledge to the world. 

    On May 24, 1962, he flew Aurora 7 164 miles into space and circled the earth three times at a speed of 17,532 mph. At the end of the four-hour flight, his automatic control system failed. Thanks to training in the Mercury simulator pictured above, he was able to manually land the craft 1,000 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral, Fla.

    Scott Carpenter has earned many honors during his amazing career:

    • Navy’s Legion of Merit
    • The Distinguished Flying Cross
    • The NASA Distinguished Service Medal
    • U.S. Navy Astronaut Wings
    • University of Colorado Recognition Medal
    • The Collier Trophy
    • The New York City Gold Medal of Honor
    • The Elisha Kent Kane Medal
    • The Ustica Gold Trident
    • The Boy Scouts of America Silver Buffalo
    • Seven honorary degrees

    For more information about this heroic American visit jsc.nasa.gov or space.com/24502-scott-carpenter.html.