All 'Original Seven' American astronauts now dead

December 8, 2016
In this Jan. 11, 1961 file photo, Marine Lt. Col. John Glenn reaches for controls inside a Mercury capsule procedures trainer as he shows how the first U.S. astronaut will ride through space during a demonstration at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Research Center in Langley Field, Va. Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth who later spent 24 years representing Ohio in the Senate, died Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, at the age of 95. (AP Photo/File)

John Glenn's passing on Thursday means that the first seven American astronauts chosen to lead the fledging US space program in 1959 are now dead, ending a groundbreaking chapter in American history.

This crew of military aviators, known as the Original Seven, or "Mercury 7," proved that spaceflight was possible, and paved the way for the pioneering US trips to the moon.

Their saga inspired the 1979 Tom Wolfe book "The Right Stuff," and the 1983 movie classic of the same name. Here are the feats the seven are best known for, and how they died:

Alan B. Shepard, Jr.

The first American to journey into space, Shepard launched on May 5, 1961, aboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft. His flight was suborbital, rising to an altitude of 116 statute miles (186 kilometers) before landing back on Earth.

He later commanded the Apollo 14 in 1971—the third lunar landing—and became the fifth person to walk on the Moon.

Shepard died in 1998 at the age of 74 from leukemia.

John H. Glenn, Jr.

The first American to orbit the Earth, Glenn is best known for making his three tours around the planet on February 20, 1962.

He was also elected US senator in Ohio and served as a lawmaker from 1974 to 1999.

In 1998, at the age of 77, Glenn became the oldest person to fly in space when he journeyed aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

Glenn died Thursday at the age of 95. He had been in declining health since undergoing heart valve surgery in 2014.

Virgil I. 'Gus' Grissom

Grissom was the first person to be launched into space twice.

He flew on the second suborbital Mercury flight in 1961, and in 1965 piloted the first Gemini mission, which was also the first spaceflight to change its orbital plane.

He and two others were killed in 1967 in a fire during a launch pad test ahead of the planned Apollo 1 mission, which he was slated to command.

Scott Carpenter

Carpenter radioed the now famous phrase, "Godspeed, John Glenn" as his colleague was about to embark on the first US orbital flight in 1962.

Later that year, Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth.

After circling the Earth three times in the Aurora 7 capsule, he overshot his landing target by about 250 miles (400 kilometers).

Carpenter took a leave of absence from NASA and served as an aquanaut in the Navy's Man-in-the-Sea program in 1965.

He died in 2013 at the age of 88 after suffering a stroke.

L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.

In 1963, Cooper flew on the final Mercury mission and became the last US astronaut to fly alone in space.

His Faith 7 capsule circled the Earth 22 times and the mission lasted more than a day.

His second trip to space—aboard Gemini 5 in 1965—lasted eight days and set a new space endurance record for that era.

Cooper was said to be the first American to sleep in space. He reported having no dreams during his orbital slumber.

He died in 2004 of heart failure at the age of 77.

Walter M. Schirra, Jr.

Schirra became the first man to fly aboard all three of the United States' first three human space projects—the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions.

He was command pilot on Gemini 6 in 1965 when he led the first spacecraft rendezvous by flying within one foot of the already orbiting Gemini 7.

He also commanded the first piloted Apollo mission, Apollo 7, in 1968.

Schirra died of a heart attack while being treated for abdominal cancer in 2007 at the age of 84.

Donald K. 'Deke' Slayton.

Slayton was chosen to be part of the original Mercury missions but was unable to fly in 1962 because of an erratic heart rate.

He became NASA's director of Flight Crew Operations, and was eventually cleared for spaceflight a decade later.

In 1975, he flew aboard the first joint American-Soviet space mission, Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, which marked the first docking of an American and Russian spacecraft in space.

Slayton died of a brain tumor in 1993, at the age of 69.

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33 comments

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Shootist
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 08, 2016
Yeager is still with us and happily telling the social justice warriors to "get the fuck over it"
EnsignFlandry
5 / 5 (4) Dec 09, 2016
These guys defined the word 'hero." As a kid I watched them all go into space. They seemed to be superhuman. Maybe they were.
gkam
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 09, 2016
Yeager was never allowed to be an astronaut.

Yeager was a good pilot for his day, which was really WW II. His seat of the pants flying was not good enough for the then-modern aircraft which needed more precision and less feeling. That's why he crashed the third NF-104, shown in the movie.

He is a real hero, but not what most folk understand. It was because of his war record: He was an Ace (five kills), in one day in WW II, and finally got his star by taking an F-100 group to Vietnam.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (8) Dec 09, 2016
Yeager was a good pilot for his day, which was really WW II. His seat of the pants flying was not good enough for the then-modern aircraft which needed more precision and less feeling. That's why he crashed the third NF-104, shown in the movie etc
I would just like to caution anyone reading posts from gkam/george kamburoff that he has demonstrated that he enjoys lying and fabricating facts. If you're interested in dependable facts I suggest ignoring anything he says and doing your own research instead.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (7) Dec 09, 2016
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam
His seat of the pants flying was not good enough for the then-modern aircraft which needed more precision and less feeling. That's why he crashed the third NF-104, shown in the movie
only an idiot would assume this without checking facts-
An investigation later showed that the cause of the crash was a spin that resulted from excessive angle of attack and lack of aircraft response. The excessive angle of attack was not caused by pilot input but by a gyroscopic condition set up by the J79 engine spooling after shut down for the rocket-powered zoom climb phase.

The crash is depicted in the movie "The Right Stuff." However, the director/writer changed most of the facts/events surrounding the crash. About the only thing they got right was that an F-104 did crash and it was piloted by Yeager.
http://www.check-...site.htm
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 09, 2016
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam cont'd
Yeager was a good pilot for his day, which was really WW II. His seat of the pants flying was not good enough for the then-modern aircraft which needed more precision and less feeling
except that is also not true: On October 14, 1997, he flew an F-15D Eagle, past Mach 1

http://www.review...rs-later

also - https://www.youtu...QUwsWri8

i was here for this one: http://www.chucky...use-2005

http://www.usatod...1695301/

so you pretty much just demonstrated why everyone thinks you're an idiot... you post your opinion and beliefs as fact and try to state that it must be true because you're some kind of authority... but the evidence directly contradicts your claims

per your own request...
gkam
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 09, 2016
Yes, "excessive angle of attack". He was only a degree or two off, but you can't be that sloppy in a rocket plane.

" On October 14, 1997, he flew an F-15D Eagle, past Mach 1 "

Actually he was rear-seat, and it was just a parade ride, a tribute to him.

He was a colonel when I was at Eddie's, Commandant of Aerospace Research Pilot School. Shall I send you the story about the time he called me up to fix his B-57?

antigoracle
1 / 5 (4) Dec 09, 2016
Compare the America of that era to now. How fast you have fallen from one of hopes and dreams to hopelessness and nightmares. It's a pity John Glenn lived to see it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (4) Dec 09, 2016
He was a colonel when I was at Eddie's, Commandant of Aerospace Research Pilot School. Shall I send you the story about the time he called me up to fix his B-57?
Uh so this bullshit means that the bullshit you made up above has to be true?

You are the only one here stupid enough to fall for that kind of bullshit. And only if it is you who is telling it.
howhot3
5 / 5 (6) Dec 09, 2016
Compare the America of that era to now. How fast you have fallen from one of hopes and dreams to hopelessness and nightmares. It's a pity John Glenn lived to see it.

Oh my my my my. @Antigoracle comes clean and states his problem. Technology and the advance of science and civilization just overwhelms the poor lass. Poor @goracle... he is just so concerned about HIS idea america.
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2016
It is obvious that the anonymous sniper "otto" has been nowhere and seen nothing, which means he has done nothing.

We had an entire military crew for orbiting in Dyna Soar, but it got cancelled after much work.

Our X-15 pilots went sufficiently high to receive astronaut wings. We had FLYING astronauts at Eddie's, not those who just rode in tin cans.
Uncle Ira
4 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2016
We had an entire military crew for orbiting in Dyna Soar, but it got cancelled after much work.
Are you included in that "We"? I'm sensing another "Commander McBragg" moment coming on.
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2016
"Uh so this bullshit means that the bullshit you made up above has to be true?"
-----------------------------
Yes, "otto". That is how it really worked. If you had any experience in this field you would know, too.

You folk will get a real treat when the magazine finally prints the Edwards story they bought from me. That little pop you will hear is Ira's head exploding.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2016
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam the BULLY
Yes, "otto". That is how it really worked
no, that isn't how it works:
1- RULE 37

2- just because you have met him in person doesn't mean you get to change well established validated facts about the past

3- i've also personally met him, but i would never make a claim that a test pilot was inept and incapable of flying modern aircraft... mostly because that is false and demonstrably so : https://www.googl...+barrier

when you make a claim that is demonstrably false, but then make threats or state that you're an authority because [insert reason] and that is how things work, but you can't actually prove it, that is called Bullying at the very least, but it is also called LYING

also: it doesn't matter how many "articles" are published if the story doesn't validate the claim you made that Yeager can't fly modern aircraft, you idiot

per your request to clean up PO...
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2016
Wake up, Rumpy, your little mind is twisting words to fit your fixation.

He was a great pilot in his time, but not astronaut material. The requirements are completely different, and often counter-intuitive. Control and analysis are most important, not combat skills. And he is a genuine hero.

Yeah, I met him, too when he called me up directly in the Comm Shop after hours instead of going through Maintenance Control. He said it was because of speed, but maybe it was to dodge the assigned cost of the work. But those guys, and he especially were from the old days and thought they ran everything. It was a great club to be in. They all earned it.

I went over to his School headquarters and parked by the three B-57s between the school and their two Hangars. He cranked open a window in his office and we talked about it, informally. It is the way it was back then, 1966.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2016
STOLEN VALOR LIAR-bully
but not astronaut material
strawman argument - this wasn't the point nor was it my contention
Control and analysis are most important, not combat skills
Strawman based upon false claim - Yeager was not eligible because he was only a HS grad and the req's for astronauts required college degree

also - he taught 26 astronauts
http://www.chucky...-heights

also note: to be a test pilot requires far greater control, analysis and patience as well as skills and training than even the astronaut training, you idiot
I met him, too
then why are you posting libelous comments about him?
I forwarded them to him so he could get a good laugh at the wanna-be stolen valor bully

the rest of your post is OT irrelevant BS and it doesn't in any way justify your coments

therefore, per your own request to clean up the site...
Uncle Ira
4 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2016
@ Captain-Skippy. How you are? Have you seen this one?

https://www.youtu...absV3DeA
gkam
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 10, 2016
"also note: to be a test pilot requires far greater control, analysis and patience as well as skills and training than even the astronaut training, you idiot"
-----------------------------------

Uh, . . no. The skills are somewhat different now.

And get over your need to punish me for being real and showing how you are not.

You never saw a test pilot fly an aircraft in test. None. I watched the fastest who ever flew. Where were you?

And you sent my comments to him? I'm sure he dropped everything to respond. I'm waiting.

Meanwhile, let's get off the personal attacks and stick to the topics.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2016
Yes, "otto". That is how it really worked. If you had any experience in this field you would know, too
No 'george', stumpy proved you fabricated facts again. And you expect us to believe they are true because you are george kamburoff. But theyre not true no matter who you are.

George kamburoff. The only real thing about him is his name. And thats a fact.
I went over to his School headquarters and parked by the three B-57s between the school and their two Hangars. He cranked open a window in his office and we talked about it, informally. It is the way it was back then, 1966
...For anybody reading this bullshit we can conclude that it is a lie based in the fact that gkam does little else but LIE. Its the only way he can live up to his own expectations.

Without the LIES he is nothing but a no-nothing dropout with a failed career.

And george hates that kind of person.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2016
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-bully
Uh, . . no. The skills are somewhat different now
prove it - you know, like i just proved you were a chronic liar and bully
showing how you are not.
just because you ignore the evidence doesn't mean everyone else does too
repeating this lie only makes you look worse
You never saw a test pilot fly an aircraft in test. None
1- false claim
2- strawman and irrelevant
And you sent my comments to him?
why didn't you send it to him considering you think it's so correct?
afraid of the libel suit? because it is considered defamation of character and your history here has plenty of evidence showing you're a chronic liar and intentionally post false claims for the sake of self-aggrandizement
let's get off the personal attacks and stick to the topics
1- you attacked Gen Yeager, not i

2- i am not making a personal attack, i am giving validated evidence that debunks your false claims

per your request to clean up the site...
Uncle Ira
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2016
@ glam-Skippy. Are you smoking pot a little heavy today? More than your usual heavy I mean.

Our X-15 pilots went sufficiently high to receive astronaut wings. We had FLYING astronauts at Eddie's, not those who just rode in tin cans.


You mean like Yeager, eh? But you think he did not have the skills to ride a tin can?

He was a great pilot in his time, but not astronaut material. The requirements are completely different, and often counter-intuitive. Control and analysis are most important, not combat skills.
So all those first astronauts had "experience" doing some sort of flying different from Yeager, eh? What did they fly that Yeager did not fly?

Uh, . . no. The skills are somewhat different now.
What does now got to do with it? We're talking about 1963 and the first astronauts. If Ham could fly a Mercury space capsule, why you think Yeager would be unqualified to fly in him?
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2016
"You mean like Yeager, eh? But you think he did not have the skills to ride a tin can?"
--------------------------------------
My god, you two really DO dream of me. I have become your fixation. Rumpy keeps an entire dossier on me. Check it out. I told him to blank out my ssn, but he refuses, accepting instead the responsibility.

How about you? What does your hate stack look like?

gkam
1 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2016
" why you think Yeager would be unqualified to fly in him?"
-----------------------------

It wasn't me who made that decision.

Yeager and the astronauts all previously flew hot aircraft. It came down to discipline, in my opinion.
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2016
You do not get it: Yeager is the true American Individual, eccentric and different. He was exactly what we needed in his prime, and he is a hero for it.

But those traits are not the ones they want in an astronaut who is part of a high-level team. They also want the education of college, so the advanced concepts are familiar, concepts they must use for spaceflight.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2016
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-bully
keeps an entire dossier on me
Nope
i specifically told you that any and all information you sent to me would be publicly posted to insure that i was not falsifying anything you sent

that was the agreement we had before you started sending me crap to "prove your" BS

that folder is there because you, specifically, lied about what you sent me and also misrepresented your MS (sans baccalaureate) and your "engineering" position

i also just added a pic to it - one of mine (a few of those are my personal pics, BTW)
http://s1027.phot...amp;o=28

PW=VALIDATE
something you still can't actually provide as evidence for your "glorious" service - a VA card and a US MILITARY ID card
(redacted, of course)
pics taken are time/date stamped just a few min ago

so it's more evidence you're a liar

now - per your request...
Uncle Ira
4 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2016
"You mean like Yeager, eh? But you think he did not have the skills to ride a tin can?"


My god, you two really DO dream of me. I have become your fixation. Rumpy keeps an entire dossier on me. Check it out. I told him to blank out my ssn, but he refuses, accepting instead the responsibility.


Well you quoted me, did smoke some pot before/while you were writing your answer? Because it looks like you are answering some other Skippy.

So I will ask again in case you got confused.

1st you say Yeager did not have the right skills to be the astronaut.

2nd you say that your Air Force buddies (that would be Yeager, right?) were REAL astronauts and did not just ride in tin cans.

3rd you say that the astronauts now had skills that Yeager did not have.

I ask what the first astronauts flew to get different skills that Yeager did fly first? Even Ham the Chimp-Skippy could fly the Mercury, why you think Yeager could not?
Uncle Ira
4 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2016
They also want the education of college,
That is what the Captain-Skippy told you.

so the advanced concepts are familiar, concepts they must use for spaceflight


Advanced concepts? Like ""riding a tin can""? Ham the Chimp did it.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2016
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-bully
Check it out. I told him to blank out my ssn, but he refuses, accepting instead the responsibility
so now you can't read?
LFMAO

perhaps you should look again?

i should point out that, per the letter of the law, your SSN was redacted within the specified time required by law after you made a point of sending me the request by e-mail (a requirement)

however, it stayed up long enough for others to have acquired it per your own stupidity!

you failed to abide by the agreement and specific instruction to redact personal information, so if anyone else got it and stole your identity, i am covered under the law

so you just now proved your either chronically stoned or a chronic liar (or both)

also note: you have just proven you are intentionally spreading libelous comments about national hero's as well

i suggest you seek legal advice - who knows what others will do to you for your libel and stupidity

jsdarkdestruction
5 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2016
Please stop you guys. This article is about the early astronauts who've now all died. This article isn't the place for you guys to go at it.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2016
Please stop you guys. This article is about the early astronauts who've now all died. This article isn't the place for you guys to go at it.
@jsdarkdestruction
personally, i only started posting because g obviously lied and maligned a national hero with known false claims and libel based upon his watching of a movie - all of which are debunked by facts

that is worse than his stolen valor claims, IMHO

i will refrain from continuing to post to the idiot in this thread and simply report any and all further posts from her

apologies to you and those who are offended
gkam
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 10, 2016
Thank you jsd.
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2016
My favorite is Joe Engle, Look him up.

He was one of the X-15 pilots in the 1960's, and flew everything.
ddaye
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2016
Gemini 6 "flew" twice, and that first shot must have been a real diaper soiler. A glitch right at launch caused the started engines to shut down at about liftoff. At the time I'd heard it actually moved an inch or two though I'm not certain now. The Gemini 7 craft reported seeing the smoke of the attempt. https://youtu.be/Y4C_D7Mo5u8

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