Carpenter only flew into space once, as part of the Aurora 7 mission. Image credit: NASA
When looking at the current state of NASA and acknowledging the constant presence astronauts have in space on board the International Space Station, it is important to look back on the trailblazers that paved the way. Scott Carpenter was a fundamental part of this movement, and this is heavily reflected in his accomplishments.
Born on 1 May 1925 in Boulder, Colorado, United States, as Malcolm Scott Carpenter, he gained a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Colorado in 1949. However, the profession that truly led him down the path to becoming an astronaut was his position as a naval aviator, beginning in 1951.
On 7 October 1958, when NASA was only a few months old, Project Mercury was created. Its aims were clear: it was a head-to-head competition with the Soviet Union in a race to head to space. In order to sift out the weak, NASA constructed a harsh, but necessary astronaut selection criterion. Only seven candidates were deemed worthy of the position, mainly because of the fact they were all military test pilots. This was because NASA was adamant ...