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Pioneering US Astronaut Scott Carpenter Dies at 88

Former astronaut Scott Carpenter, one of the legendary seven original U.S. astronauts and the second American to orbit the Earth, has died after suffering a stroke.

He was 88 years old.

Carpenter flew into space aboard his Aurora space capsule on May 24, 1962 -- a time when spaceflights were new and captured the attention of the entire nation.

He orbited the Earth three times and also gave NASA its first major scare.

Technical problems and low fuel forced Carpenter to manually bring the space capsule back to Earth. He splashed down in the Caribbean Sea, 465 kilometers off course.

Millions of television viewers held their breaths wondering if Carpenter survived, before a Navy rescue crew found him.

Carpenter never flew in space again, but did live on the Pacific Ocean floor for a month aboard the Sealab capsule in 1965.



The story of Carpenter's flight and the seven original astronauts is vividly told in the book and film The Right Stuff. Carpenter's death leaves John Glenn as the only one of the first seven astronauts still alive.

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