1925–, American astronaut, b. Boulder, Colo.
The second American to go into orbital flight around the earth, he made
his historic and suspenseful flight on May 24, 1962. In his three-orbit
trip he repeated the earlier success of John Glenn. Carpenter’s second
orbit was under manual control, and during it he discovered that he could
make small changes in the capsule’s orientation in space by movements of
his head and arms. On descending, his capsule, Aurora 7, overshot
the pickup area by 250 mi (212 km) causing nationwide concern for his
safety. A commander in the U.S. navy, Carpenter had served with an
antisubmarine patrol during the Korean War. From 1965 to 1967 he was a
member of the navy aquanaut project and in 1969 retired from the navy to
go into private business.