Scott Carpenter, one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, passed away this week at 88. A longer obituary can be seen here.
His Mercury capsule, called "Aurora 7," is on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. I was able to snap this glimpse of the controls during a visit to Chicago in 2010 -- although it was through a piece of plexiglass and under very dim light.
The level of technology that was used during the early space flights is frighteningly primitive. Carpenter spent five hours in this capsule, orbiting the earth three times. Radio contact was lost on re-entry and many feared for the worst -- but he was rescued in the Atlantic Ocean, 250 miles from the intended splashdown point.
I was able to find a more detailed schematic of the instrument panel where the labels are more legible. The large circle in the center is not a window, but rather a periscope viewer.
To a child of these times, there was no celebrity bigger than an astronaut. No movie star, no pop idol, no politician was held in higher regard. Now, the only one of the seven who survives is John Glenn, at 92.
Godspeed, Scott Carpenter.
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jcpix (13662) 2013-10-12 18:54
A very nice and well deserved gesture to acknowledge Scott. I can't pretend to know much about the history of the Aurora 7, but it's truly a remarkable feat to go into space, and I hold much respect for those that strive to enhance our knowledge about it through their missions and explorations. A great deal of hard work and sacrifice for the betterment of mankind deserves to be recognized.
So neat to see some of the inner workings of a spacecraft, not something that I can recall seeing here on TE. Amazing to think of how far we've come in this kind of technology. It's a shame to think that our national "hero's" have virtually become the complete opposite of what they were considered back in the day. Thanks for helping the memories to live on. Hope you're having a nice weekend. Take it easy.
serp2000 (40042) 2013-10-12 22:01
Yes, I've read about this man. R.I.P., Scott.
Thanks for your post. Very interesting and informative note.
Noel_Byrne (24349) 2013-10-13 5:36
I have to admit, I did not hear of this mans passing, so I'm glad to come across your post today to be able to mark respect to a man so daring as this. Your capture here is a great tribute, and the effect of taking this through glass has given the whole thing a kind of 60's grainy feel, very appropriate. As we sit here in 2013 and look at the technology it does give a great appreciated for the bravery involved, I would not feel safe in space in this. Such is the benefit of hindsight of course! Great post, thanks
All the best
eldancer1 (27953) 2013-10-13 7:44
Yes, I remember Scott Carpenter making history with his space flight, I wish I were that lucky to have traveled to outer space. Carpenter was one of my heroes. TFS.
marabu61 (8385) 2013-10-13 8:00
I can't really recall the Mercury program, my earliest memories of mans space travel dates from the Apollo program (I still remember when my parents woke me up in the middle of the night to watch Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon live, I was then 8 years old).
I have the highest respect for those men who dared to defy gravity with a technique that today seems almost to primitive for it.
You choose a very well subject to honor Mr. Carpenters passing and I hope he will go on to motivate the younger generations to keep up his dreams.
have a great sunday
fabbs99 (16167) 2013-10-14 20:12
Nice shot Russ,
Very appealing and attractive composition of the mercury capsule.Great tribute to the astronaut who made us proud.Very well done,TFS.
jhm (139268) 2013-10-15 4:38
I know nothing of the dead of these Scott Carpenter the old astronaut.
I sympathize with family for his dead.
These space cabin, it seen a plane of War II.
Thank you very much for your links.
Your picture is made with a lot quality and sharpness.
Very well done, TFS.
ourania (31137) 2013-10-15 13:34
I'm sure that this board looks fascinating both to the people who have some idea what all the switches are for and to those who don't. You've dealt with the lighting and the barrier of the plexiglass effectively, the intricate and fascinating view is wonderfully displayed in your frame. I like the way you captured the graduation of the light as well as the feeling of a limited and isolated space in which a great astronaut lived a most adventurous, courageous and extraordinary experience. Picture and note are alluring. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great day,
abmdsudi (43594) 2013-10-15 21:20
A life in picture! This close up instrument panel really tells a story and a fitting tribute to the space explorer who made history, a great way to keep the memories alive like this. What complexity this instrument panel shows, has me in awe of man's engineering ingenuity then! a plethora of detail for the viewer to take in just pure science fact not fiction and thks to all the descriptions have been perfectly put together, thank you for all the information. Well done and tx for sharing.
photoray (12231) 2013-10-16 17:19
Fine tribute to our astronaut hero, Scott Carpenter "who bravely went where no one had been before". The antique interior in your view reminds us how much space engineering has evolved since the Mercury program, which led to the Apollo program and landing on the moon.
I recently watched a documentary which believes the actual moon landing was done in a movie studio directed by Stanley Kubrick who was a master at hidden symbolism. Mr. Kubrick used clues regarding the moon filming within his flick The Shining by having Danny wear an Apollo 11 shirt, showing Tang predominantly, etc.
Anyway now being an Earth Trekie instead of a Star Trekie, I enjoy your image,
emka (79016) 2013-10-24 23:45
You are right, being the old lady, I remember how fascinating the first flights were, even if it was a dog (Laika), the first animal on the orbit. I have read recently that it is the 50th anniversary of the flight of Tereshkova and she would like to fly to Mars, one way. Interesting shot. To spent hours in such a small compartment and with risk must have been hard.
mcmtanyel (13539) 2013-10-28 21:02
This is a very fitting tribute to a fine astronaut. A little noisy in darker areas but an excellent close-up nevertheless.
- Copyright: Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) (1924)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2010-08-28
- Categories: Decisive Moment
- Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10
- Exposure: f/2.8, 1/4 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): VINTAGE AIRCRAFT [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2013-10-12 11:07