March 12, 1923 – U.S. Astronaut Wally Schirra is born

Wally SchirraWalter Marty Schirra, Jr. (March 12, 1923 – May 3, 2007) was one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts chosen for the Project Mercury, America’s first effort to put men in space. He was the only man to fly in all of America’s first three space programs (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo). He flew on Mercury 8, Gemini 6A and Apollo 7.

Wikipedia says:

“On October 3, 1962, Schirra became the fifth American in space, piloting the Mercury 8 (Sigma 7) on a six-orbit mission lasting 9 hours, 13 minutes, and 11 seconds.

“On December 15, 1965, Schirra flew into space a second time in Gemini 6A with Tom Stafford, rendezvousing with astronauts Frank Borman and James Lovell, Jr. in Gemini 7.

“On October 11, 1968, Schirra became the first man to fly in space three times on his final flight as commander of Apollo 7, the first manned flight in the Apollo program, which occurred after a fatal fire during tests of Apollo 1.”


Fellow American astronaut Scott Carpenter (Mercury-Atlas 7) said this about Shirra’s passing (May 3, 2007):

” . . . it makes you realize the fact that the grim reaper waits for us all. And while we’re all accustomed to that end and we’re accustomed to losing our comrades in the aviation game, it’s still a shock and it brings your own mortality finally into view.”
– Quoted in Launch Magainze, November/December 2007: page 56.


~ by tellinghistory on March 12, 2007.

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