View Full Version : Discussion: Astronaut Gordon Cooper Dies
2004-Oct-05, 05:47 PM
SUMMARY: Astronaut Gordon Cooper, who piloted missions in both the Mercury and Gemini programs, died on Monday at his home in Ventura, California; he was 77. Cooper was the youngest of the original 7 Mercury astronauts, and his mission on May 15, 1963 - the final one in the Mercury program - lasted more than 34 hours and 22 orbits. Cooper and Pete Conrad flew the third flight of the Gemini program in 1965, and stayed in space for 191 hours, establishing a new space endurance record.
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2004-Oct-05, 07:11 PM
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In Jewish Law class, we begin with dedications, so I will say: I study in the tradition of the Jewish People and in Memory of Gordon Cooper.
2004-Oct-05, 09:37 PM
Gordo had the most Hollywood of smiles among the Mercury 7. There is a famous picture of him with a Peter Noone (Herman's Hermits) grin inside the capsule when the hatch was opened on the carrier. His was the second landing in the Pacific. When he got to Honolulu, I went to the parade and took a picture of him in his convertible.
His Gemini flight was the first with lightweight fuel cells instead of heavy batteries. They failed early. The Soviets said there had been too little testing before a manned flight. The mission hobbled along with reduced power. In the next Gemini mission, the same problem happened again, but this time the crew had a new button to push to solve the problem if it recurred and this worked. There is a famous picture of Cooper and Conrad rubbing each other's beards after the flight. This was the first mission long enough to grow beards (8 days), except maybe the previous Gemini mission, which was 4 days. I remember the 4 days by thinking of Barry McGuire singing "Eve of Destruction," "Aw, you can go up for 4 days in space, but when you return it's the same old place."
That's it for my memories that weren't in the articles. I was surprised to read that he was backup command module pilot for Apollo 10, the crew who could have been the first on the Moon, had they chosen to disobey orders. The backup crew usually became a primary crew about 3 flights later. But Cooper never again flew. Strange choice, if they weren't going to fly him anymore.
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