Astronaut Wally Schirra dies at 84

May 4, 2007

Wally Schirra, the only astronaut to fly in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, has died at 84 in La Jolla, Calif.

Schirra's family reported he died Wednesday of natural causes, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said Thursday.

Schirra was selected in 1959 as one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, and flew on the fifth Mercury mission in 1962. He commanded Gemini 6A three years later, a flight with Tom Stafford that made history as the first space rendezvous of two manned, maneuverable spacecraft.

Schirra commanded Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo flight, in 1968. He and crewmembers Walt Cunningham and Donn Eisele tested the Apollo systems and proved the craft was ready to take astronauts to the moon.

Schirra retired from NASA in 1969 and worked as a commentator with CBS from 1969 until 1975, teaming with veteran news anchor Walter Cronkite on the network's coverage of the U.S. space program.

Schirra was born in Hackensack, N.J., March 12, 1923. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1945.

He was a recipient of the U.S. Distinguished Service Medal and three Distinguished Flying Crosses.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Mercury gets a meteoroid shower from comet Encke

Related Stories

Mercury gets a meteoroid shower from comet Encke

November 10, 2015

The planet Mercury is being pelted regularly by bits of dust from an ancient comet, a new study has concluded. This has a discernible effect in the planet's tenuous atmosphere and may lead to a new paradigm on how these airless ...

The moon

September 21, 2015

Look up in the night sky. On a clear night, if you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of the moon shining in all it's glory. As Earth's only satellite, the moon has orbited our planet for over three and a half billion years. ...

The sun

September 28, 2015

The sun is the center of the Solar System and the source of all life and energy here on Earth. It accounts for more than 99.86% of the mass of the Solar System and it's gravity dominates all the planets and objects that orbit ...

NASA says it's working to resolve items' ownership

January 9, 2012

(AP) -- The head of NASA met Monday with former astronauts to discuss who owns space artifacts from moon shots and other missions, saying afterward that the agency will work cooperatively with them to resolve what's recently ...

Recommended for you

Earth might have hairy dark matter

November 23, 2015

The solar system might be a lot hairier than we thought. A new study publishing this week in the Astrophysical Journal by Gary Prézeau of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, proposes the existence of ...

Scientists detect stellar streams around Magellanic Clouds

November 23, 2015

(—Astronomers from the University of Cambridge, U.K., have detected a number of narrow streams and diffuse debris clouds around two nearby irregular dwarf galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds. The research also ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.