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Scott Carpenter: Project Mercury Astronaut Dies
Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the Earth and one of the last two surviving Project Mercury astronauts, has died.
His wife, Patty Barrett, said Mr Carpenter, 88, died in a Denver hospice of complications from a stroke he suffered in September.
As an astronaut and aquanaut who lived underwater for the US Navy, he was the first man to explore both the depths of the ocean and the heights of space.
It was Mr Carpenter who gave the famous send-off - "Godspeed, John Glenn" - when John Glenn became the first American in orbit in February 1962. Mr Glenn, 92, is the only member of the "Mercury 7" still alive.
Three months later, he himself orbited the Earth three times. He lost contact with Nasa during the off-target landing, but was found safely floating in his life raft 288 miles away.
That missed landing was a factor which kept the space organisation from launching him into space again.
In a joint lecture with Mr Glenn 49 years after the mission, he said: "You're looking out at a totally black sky, seeing an altimeter reading of 90,000ft and realise you are going straight up.
"And the thought crossed my mind: what am I doing?
"The view of Mother Earth and the weightlessness is an addictive combination of senses."
Mr Carpenter spent 30 days in Sealab 2 under the Pacific Ocean off the California coast in 1965. During this period he tested equipment, salvage methods and underwent physiological testing.