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Astronaut Gordon Cooper, Jr. Dies

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Gordon Cooper Jr., the astronaut who piloted the sixth and last flight of the Mercury program and later commanded Gemini 5, died earlier today at his home in Ventura, Calif. He was 77 years old.

"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.

The youngest of the original seven astronauts, Cooper's flight in his Faith 7 capsule stretched the capabilities of the Mercury spacecraft 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 also became the first astronaut to sleep in space.

Check out the full story at: http://www.nasa.gov/vision/space/features/cooper_obit.html

Image Left: Cooper in the "white room," waiting for test activities to resume in preparation for his Mercury launch in May of 1963. Photo credit: NASA.
Astronaut Gordon Cooper, Jr. Dies | 1 comments | Create New Account
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Astronaut Gordon Cooper, Jr. Dies
Authored by: bobmoody onThursday, October 07 2004 @ 09:27 am EDT
I'm very sorry to hear about fellow Okie, Gordon Cooper, Jr, passing away. Cooper was from Shawnee, Oklahoma where the Gordon Cooper Vocational Technical campus lies just south of the east exit for town along I-40. Cooper was one of the most boisterous of astronauts and I'll always be able to remember him from Dennis Quaid's portrayal of Cooper in the movie, The Right Stuff.

At one time, Oklahoma could lay claim to being the home state of the majority of astronauts who had flown into space. We might not be able to still make this claim, but we'll never forget those early few pioneers who were, likely as not, fellow Okies.

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