Died when: 88 years 162 days
Star Sign: Taurus
Malcolm Scott Carpenter (May 1, 1925 – October 10, 2013) was an American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aeronautical engineer, astronaut, and aquanaut. He was one of the Mercury Seven astronauts selected for NASA's Project Mercury in April 1959. Carpenter was the second American (after John Glenn) to orbit the Earth and the fourth American in space, after Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, and Glenn. Commissioned into the U.S. Navy in 1949, Carpenter became a naval aviator, flying a Lockheed P-2 Neptune with Patrol Squadron 6 (VP-6) on reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare missions along the coasts of Russia and China during the Korean War and the Cold War. In 1954, he attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland in 1954 and became a test pilot. In 1958 he was named Air Intelligence Officer of USS Hornet, which was then in dry dock at the Bremerton Navy Yard. The following year, Carpenter was selected as one of the Mercury Seven astronauts. He was backup to Glenn during the latter's Mercury Atlas 6 orbital mission. Carpenter flew the next mission, Mercury-Atlas 7, in the spacecraft he named Aurora 7. Due to a series of malfunctions, the spacecraft landed 250 miles (400 km) downrange from its intended splashdown point, but both pilot and spacecraft were retrieved. Carpenter obtained permission from NASA to take a leave of absence to join the U.S. Navy SEALAB project as an aquanaut. During training he suffered injuries which grounded him, making him unavailable for further spaceflights. In 1965, he spent 28 days living on the ocean floor off the coast of California as part of SEALAB II. He returned to NASA as Executive Assistant to the Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center, then joined the Navy's Deep Submergence Systems Project in 1967 as Director of Aquanaut Operations for SEALAB III. He retired from NASA in 1967, and from the Navy in 1969.