Walter Marty Schirra Jr. (, March 12, 1923 – May 3, 2007) was an American naval aviator, test pilot, and NASA astronaut. In 1959, he became one of the original seven astronauts chosen for Project Mercury, which was the United States' first effort to put human beings into space. On October 3, 1962, he flew the six-orbit, nine-hour, Mercury-Atlas 8 mission, in a spacecraft he nicknamed Sigma 7. At the time of his mission in Sigma 7, Schirra became the fifth American and ninth human to travel into space. In the two-man Gemini program, he achieved the first space rendezvous, station-keeping his Gemini 6A spacecraft within 1 foot (30 cm) of the sister Gemini 7 spacecraft in December 1965. In October 1968, he commanded Apollo 7, an 11-day low Earth orbit shakedown test of the three-man Apollo Command/Service Module and the first crewed launch for the Apollo program. Before becoming an astronaut, Schirra graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1945, and served at sea during World War II. In 1948, he became a naval aviator, served as a fighter pilot and flew 90 combat missions in the Korean War, and then in 1958 he graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Schirra retired from the Navy in 1969 with the rank of captain. He was the first astronaut to go into space three times, and was the only astronaut to have flown in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. He was not the only Mercury astronaut, however, to be in all three programs; Gus Grissom did it too. In total, Schirra logged 295 hours and 15 minutes in space. After Apollo 7, he retired as a captain from the U.S. Navy as well as from NASA, subsequently becoming a consultant to CBS News in the network's coverage of following Apollo flights. Schirra joined Walter Cronkite as co-anchor for all seven of NASA's Moon landing missions.
You must log in to post a comment.Log in
There are no comments yet.