Wally Schirra, Jr. (March 12, 1923 – May 3, 2007) was one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts chosen for the Project Mercury, America's first effort to put humans in space. He was the only person to fly in all of America's first three space programs (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo). He logged a total of 295 hours and 15 minutes in space.
On April 2, 1959, Schirra was chosen as one of the original seven American astronauts. He entered Project Mercury and was assigned the specialty area involving life support systems.Mercury
On October 3, 1962, Schirra became the fifth American in space, piloting the Mercury-Atlas 8 (Sigma 7) on a six-orbit mission lasting 9 hours, 13 minutes, and 11 seconds. The capsule attained a velocity of 17,557 miles per hour (28,255 km/h) and an altitude of 175 statute miles, and landed within four miles (6 km) of the main Pacific Ocean recovery ship.Gemini
On December 15, 1965, Schirra flew into space a second time in Gemini 6A with Tom Stafford. During the first launch attempt, the booster rocket unexpectedly shut down seconds after ignition. Although mission rules called for the crew to eject from the spacecraft in that situation, Schirra used his pilot's judgement and did not eject, which turned out to be the correct call. The flight launched successfully the next day, conducting the first manned space rendezvous with astronauts Frank Borman and James Lovell, Jr. in Gemini 7. The two vehicles, however, were not capable of actually docking. Gemini 6 landed in the Atlantic Ocean the next day, while Gemini 7 continued on to a record-setting 14-day mission.Apollo
Schirra looks out the window in front of the commander's station on Apollo 7.On October 11, 1968, Schirra became the first person to fly in space three times on his final flight as commander of Apollo 7, the first manned flight in the Apollo program, which occurred after a fatal fire during tests of Apollo 1. The three-person crew, including Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham, spent eleven days in earth orbit, performed rendezvous exercises with the upper stage of the Saturn 1-B launch vehicle that rocketed them into space and provided the first live television pictures from inside a U.S. manned spacecraft (other than an experimental broadcast during the flight of Gordon Cooper) for which he received an Emmy.
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