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Malcolm Scott Carpenter

Malcolm Scott Carpenter has signed the following Cover for us

- 40th Anniversary Moonlanding Medal Cover

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from £25.00 to £500.00

Biography of Malcolm Scott Carpenter

Malcolm Scott Carpenter, Commander (USN, Ret.), was born on May 1, 1925, in Boulder, Colorado. After graduating from high school, Carpenter entered the Navy's V-5 flight training program at the University of Colorado. When the V-5 program ended at the close of World war II, Carpenter entered the University of Colorado to major in aeronautical engineering. He received a degree there in 1949.

Following his graduation, Carpenter joined the Navy and received flight training from November 1949 to April 1951 at Pensacola, Florida and Corpus Christi, Texas. He spent three months in the Fleet Airborne Electronics Training School, San Diego, California, and was in a Lockheed P2V transitional training unit at Whidbey Island, Washington, until October 1951.

In November 1951, he was assigned to Patrol Squadron 6 based at Barbers Point, Hawaii. In 1954 he entered the Navy Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland. He then attended Naval General Line School at Monterey, California, for ten months in 1957 and the Naval Air Intelligence School, Washington, DC for an additional eight months in 1957 and 1958. In August 1958 he was assigned to the USS Hornet, anti-submarine aircraft carrier, as Air Intelligence Officer, where he was serving when he received cryptic orders to report to Washington in connection with an unspecified special project. Stopping in an airport on the way back from Washington, he picked up a Time magazine and learned that the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had identified 110 candidates, all military pilots, from which to take volunteers for America's first manned venture into space.

A few weeks later he became one of the "Original Seven" Mercury astronauts, chosen on April 9 1959, and was assigned to the Manned Spacecraft Center (then Space Task Group) at Langley Field, Virginia. Upon reporting for duty, he was assigned a specialty area in training involving communications and navigational aids, because of his extensive prior experience in that field in the Navy. He served as John Glenn's backup pilot during pre-flight preparations for America's first manned orbital flight, MA-6.

On May 24, 1962, Carpenter lifted off onboard the spacecraft he dubbed Aurora 7 sitting atop the Mercury-Atlas 7 rocket. His Aurora 7 spacecraft attained a maximum altitude (apogee) of 164 miles and an orbital velocity of 17, 532 miles per hour. His primary goal during the three-orbit mission was to determine whether an astronaut could work in space, a major stepping stone towards a lunar landing. The flight plan included numerous scientific experiments, including observations of flares fired on Earth and the deployment of a tethered balloon.

In 1963, he monitored the design and development of the lunar module for the Apollo project. He also served temporarily as Executive Assistant to the Director of the Manned Spaceflight Center in Houston. In the spring of 1965, on leave from NASA, he participated as an aquanaut in the U.S. Navy's SEALAB II project. In this capacity, he acted as Training Officer for the crew and was Officer-in-Charge of the submerged diving teams during the operation. He spent 30 days living and working in SEALAB II 205 feet below the surface on the ocean floor off the coast of La Jolla, California. At one point he spoke by phone to the crew of Gemini 5, original Mercury astronaut L. Gordon Cooper and "New Nine" astronaut Charles L. "Pete" Conrad, orbiting overhead. Carpenter led two of three teams of Navy men and civilians during the 45-day experiment. For his participation in the experiment, he was awarded the Navy's Legion of Merit award.

NASA public relations credited Carpenter with being the first person to explore both of humanity's great remaining frontiers, the ocean and President Kennedy's "New Ocean": space. After the SEALAB II experiment, Carpenter returned to the space program and was responsible for liaison with the Navy for underwater zero-gravity training (neutral buoyancy). On July 16, 1964, in Hamilton, Bermuda, Carpenter lost control of the motorcycle he was driving and broke his lower left arm. The compound fracture eliminated Carpenter from participation in a Navy test in which he would have been submerged in a diving chamber with four Navy divers at a depth of 192 feet. This accident also removed him from flight status and he resigned from NASA on August 10, 1967.

He was then assigned to the Navy's Deep Submergence Systems Project as assistant for aquanaut operations during the SEALAB III experiment. The project was responsible for developing deep-ocean search, rescue, salvage and ocean engineering capabilities, and directed the Navy's Saturation Diving Program.

Carpenter retired from the Navy on July 1, 1969. Since then he has been an engineering consultant, a wasp breeder, and a novelist. His first novel, entitled The Steel Albatross, is a techno-thriller in the same vein as Tom Clancy, about a Soviet plot to place a doomsday device on the ocean floor. He still makes his home in Colorado, his boyhood home, and is still friends with the remaining Mercury astronauts. They occasionally get together for skiing trips or meetings in connection with their Florida-based Mercury 7 Foundation for scholarships in space education.

Carpenter is an honorary fellow in the Institute of Environmental Sciences, a member of the Association of Space Explorers–USA, and a member of Delta Tau Delta. He has been awarded the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Astronaut Wings, University of Colorado Recognition Medal, National Aeronautic Association's Collier Trophy, New York City Gold Medal of Honor, Elisha Kent Kane Medal, Boy Scouts of America Silver Buffalo, and Numismatica Italiana Award.

See www.history.nasa.gov for more information (September 2009)




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