Schirra, Wally


Schirra, Wally
▪ 2008
Walter Marty Schirra, Jr.  U.S. astronaut
born March 12, 1923 , Hackensack, N.J.

died May 3, 2007, La Jolla, Calif.
manned the Mercury Sigma 7 (1962) and was command pilot of Gemini 6 (1965), which made the first rendezvous in space. He was the only astronaut to fly in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs. Schirra began flying at 13 and became a naval aviator after graduating (1945) from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. He flew 90 missions in the Korean War. A test pilot, he was one of the original seven astronauts named in 1959 and was the fifth to go into space. On Oct. 3, 1962, Schirra orbited the Earth six times in Sigma 7. His scheduled flight with Thomas P. Stafford in Gemini 6 was postponed twice because of technical problems but was finally launched on Dec. 15, 1965, 11 days after Gemini 7. Schirra successfully rendezvoused with Gemini 7, maneuvering to within one foot (30.5 cm) of the craft. He commanded the Apollo 7 flight (Oct. 11–22, 1968), accompanied by Donn Eisele and R. Walter Cunningham, on the first manned Apollo mission. They tested the guidance and control systems and the restarting capability of the rocket engines for future lunar flights. Schirra retired from the navy and the space program in 1969. In 2000 he was inducted into the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor.

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Universalium. 2010.

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