Happy trails, Gordo

Colonel Gordon Cooper died yesterday at age 77. He was one of the legendary seven Mercury astronauts and flew into orbit on the last and longest Mercury mission in 1963. Cooper also commanded the Gemini 5 mission in 1965 and was backup commander for Apollo 10.
I don’t know whether Cooper witnessed the X Prize victory of SpaceShipOne before he died, but I hope so. With his passing, only three of the Mercury Seven remain alive: John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, and Wally Schirra. Gus Grissom was killed in the Apollo 1 fire in 1967. Deke Slayton died of brain cancer in 1993, and Alan Shepard succumbed to leukemia in 1998.

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