SOURCE: The USS Hornet Museum

The USS Hornet Museum

October 11, 2013 18:28 ET

USS Hornet Museum Mourns the Passing of Mercury Astronaut and Hornet Veteran Scott Carpenter

ALAMEDA, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 11, 2013) - The staff and volunteers of the USS Hornet Museum mourn the death of the aircraft carrier's only "native" astronaut, Scott Carpenter. Carpenter was serving aboard the USS Hornet in 1959 when he applied for, and was selected to, the initial NASA astronaut corps, now famously referred to as the Mercury Seven. Three years later, Carpenter became the second US astronaut to orbit the Earth.

"We are very proud of the personal and historic connection between Commander Carpenter and the USS Hornet Museum," said Randall Ramian, the Museum's chief executive officer. "He was at the forefront of exploring new frontiers, especially space and deep sea. Scott Carpenter leaves behind an incredible legacy of courage, commitment, and a pioneering spirit."

Before joining NASA, Carpenter served as a US naval aviator involved in many Pacific Ocean-related activities in the 1950's. During the Korean War, he flew Lockheed P2V Neptune reconnaissance aircraft on anti-submarine warfare missions. In 1954, he became a test pilot for the Navy at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. In 1958, he was assigned as the Air Intelligence Officer for the USS Hornet CV-12 while it was home-ported in Long Beach, California.

Carpenter flew into space on May 24, 1962, on the second orbital mission for NASA. His spacecraft, named Aurora 7, was launched by a Mercury-Atlas rocket and flew a five-hour, three-orbit science mission. Due to a control malfunction, the spacecraft splashed down 290 miles off-target from the recovery ship, USS Intrepid CVS-11. A joint effort between the US Air Force and the US Navy was required to locate and recover Carpenter and his spacecraft. After this mission, Carpenter spent a few more years with NASA in various capacities, but soon after swapped deep-sea exploration for space flights.

In 1965, on leave from NASA, Carpenter participated in the Navy's Man-in-the-Sea Project as an Aquanaut in the SEALAB II program off the coast of La Jolla, California. After retiring from the Navy in 1969, Carpenter founded Sea Sciences, Inc., a corporation that developed programs for utilizing ocean resources and improving environmental health.

The USS Hornet Museum will pay tribute to Commander Carpenter on Saturday, November 16th as Hornet veterans across several decades return to the carrier and join special guest Apollo 12 astronaut, Dick Gordon, in commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the USS Hornet itself.

"The USS Hornet Museum will always strive to capture Commander Carpenter's lifelong passion for exploration, and to pass along the story of his inspiring life and dedication to service to future generations of Americans," said Ramian.

About the USS Hornet Museum:

The USS Hornet Museum, a popular tourist destination for families located in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to inspiring people of all ages. Through field trips and live-aboard experiences, the USS Hornet offers educational programs focusing on naval history, science and space technology. A registered state and national historic landmark, the ship is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and permanently berthed at 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3 in Alameda, CA. Ample free parking is available across from the pier. The USS Hornet is also a unique, unforgettable venue available for corporate events; trade shows and expos; private parties and big band dances; and TV and film productions. For more information, ticket prices and event planning, visit: www.uss-hornet.org or call (510) 521-8448.

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