Astronaut Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the Earth and first person to explore both the heights of space and depths of the ocean, died Thursday after a stroke. He was 88.
Along with John Glenn, who flew three months before him, Carpenter was one of the last two surviving original Mercury 7 astronauts for the fledgling U.S. space program.
His wife, Patty Barrett, said Carpenter died of complications from a September stroke in a Denver hospice. He lived in Vail, Colo.
"We're going to miss him," she said.
At a time when astronauts achieved fame on par with rock stars, folks across the country sat glued to their TV screens, anxiously awaiting the outcome of Carpenter's 1962 ride. He overshot his landing by 288 miles, giving NASA and the nation an hour-long scare that he might not have made it back alive.