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Walter M. (Wally) Schirra Jr. Biography

Original Mercury 7 Astronaut

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Walter M. Schirra Jr. - Original Mercury 7 Astronaut

Walter M. Schirra Jr. - Original Mercury 7 Astronaut

NASA

PERSONAL DATA:

Born March 12, 1923, in Hackensack, New Jersey. Died on May 2, 2007. Survivors include his wife, daughter and son.

EDUCATION:

Newark College of Engineering (N.J.I.T.), 1941; U.S. Naval Academy, 1942-1945 B.S.; Safety Officers School (U.S.C.), 1957; U.S. Navy Test Pilot School (N.A.T.C.) 1958; NASA Astronaut Training, 1959-1969; Honorary Doctorate in Astronautical Engineering, Lafayette College, 1969; Honorary Doctorate in Science, U.S.C., 1969; Honorary Doctorate in Astronautics, N.J.I.T., 1969; Trustee, Detroit Institute of Technology, 1969-1976; Advisor, Colorado State University, 1977-1982; Trustee, National College, South Dakota, 1983-1987.

AWARDS:

The Collier Trophy, 1962; Kincheloe Award, SETP, 1963; Haley Astronautics Award - AIAA, 1963, 1969; Harmon International Trophy, 1965.

AWARDS-MILITARY:

U.S. Navy Distinguished Service Medal; Distinguished Flying Cross (3): Air Medal (3): NASA Distinguished Service Medal (2): NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1): Philippines Legion of Honor (Commander).

HALLS OF FAME INDUCTED:

International Aviation Hall of Fame, San Diego, CA, 1970; New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame, Teterboro, NJ, 1977 (approx.): International Space Hall of Fame, Alamagordo, NM, 1981; National Aviation Hall of Fame, Dayton, OH, 1986.

CLUBS:

Society of Experimental Test Pilots (Fellow), 1958- present; AAS (Fellow), 1960-present; Explorers Club (Fellow) 1965-present; Makai Country Club, Kauai (Princeville), Hi, 1971-present; Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club, 1985-present; San Diego Yacht Club, 1987-present; Charlie Russell Riders, Charter Member, 1985-present; Rancheros Visitadores, Member, 1989-present; Desert Caballeros, Member, 1989-present; Durango Mountain Caballeros, Member, 1989-present; Q.E.D., San Diego, Ca, 1989-present; The Golden Eagles, (Naval Aviators), 1989- present.

NASA EXPERIENCE:

Captain Schirra was one of the seven Mercury Astronauts named by NASA in April 1959. On October 3, 1962; he piloted the six orbit Sigma 7 Mercury flight; a flight which lasted 9 hours, 15 minutes. The spacecraft attained a velocity of 17,557 miles per hour at an altitude of 175 statue miles and traveled almost 144,000 statute miles before re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. Recovery of the Sigma 7 spacecraft occurred in the Pacific Ocean about 275 miles northeast of Midway Island.

Schirra next served as backup command pilot for the Gemini III Mission and on December 15-16, occupied the Command Pilot seat on the history-making Gemini 6 flight. The highlight of this mission was a successful rendezvous of Gemini 6 with the already orbiting Gemini 7 spacecraft, thus, accomplishing the first rendezvous of two manned maneuverable spacecraft and establishing another space first for the United States. Known as a "text book" pilot, Schirra remained in the spacecraft following his Mercury and Gemini flight and is the first Astronaut to be brought aboard recovery ships twice in this manner. With him on Gemini 6, was Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford.

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