History of Orange County

He was OC’s first man in space

SCOTT CARPENTER, a resident of Garden Grove, was the second American to orbit the Earth and the fourth American in space.

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Of all Garden Grove’s residents, this one definitely had “The Right Stuff.” Scott Carpenter lived in the city with his family during the time he was one of the original Mercury Seven U.S. astronauts launched into space in the Sixties.

Born in Boulder, Colorado in 1925. After a career as a naval aviator in the Korean War, he became a test pilot in 1954. In 1959, he was selected as one of the Seven. He was the second American in orbit, following John Glenn, and the fourth American in space.

Carpenter’s Aurora 7 capsule rocketed into space on May 24, 1962. The craft made three orbits, but the splashdown was a bit off-target, missing by about 250 miles. After some anxiety about his fate, he was picked up by the U.S.S. John R. Pierce, a destroyer.

In 1965, Carpenter took a leave of absence from NASA, joining the SEALAB team seeking explore the ocean floor. His underwater activities inflicted injuries which made him ineligible for space flight and he left NASA in 1969.

After his space and sea adventures, Carpenter dabbled in a wide variety of pursuits, including serving as a consultant, writing novels and appearing in TV commercials.

His personal life was not smooth. He was married four times, divorced three times and had eight children. He died on Oct. 10, 2013 at the age of 88 after suffering a stroke.

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