Cooper, Leroy Gordon ("Gordo") Jr. (1927–2004)
In 1959 Cooper was selected by NASA and on May 15–16, 1963, piloted his Faith 7 capsule on the sixth and final Mercury Project mission. Electrical problems near the end of the mission meant he had to manually fire his retrorockets and steer the capsule through reentry. Problems also beset Cooper on his next flight, a then-record eight-day trip aboard Gemini 5 in August 1965. Trouble with fuel supplies, power systems and a computer-generated command led Gemini 5 to land 166 km short of its designated target. Cooper retired from NASA and the Air Force in 1970, and was subsequently involved in technical research with several companies. His death, at the age of 77, came 47 years to the day after the launch of the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1.
Related category ASTRONAUTS AND COSMONAUTS
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