BOULDER, Colo. — Astronaut Scott Carpenter had an adventuresome spirit and was driven to know everything he could about the universe, fellow space pioneer John Glenn said Saturday at Carpenter’s funeral.
“Scott’s curiosity knew no bounds,” said Glenn, who preceded Carpenter into space 51 years ago as a member of the Mercury 7 program, America’s first corps of astronauts.
Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth and Carpenter was the second, both traveling in one-person capsules. Glenn, now the last surviving Mercury astronaut, delivered Carpenter’s eulogy.
Carpenter, who lived in Vail, Colo., died Oct. 10 of complications from a stroke he suffered in September. He was 88.
When Carpenter orbited the Earth in 1962, he had to take manual control of his spaceship because of instrument problems and low fuel, and he splashed down hundreds of miles off-target.
That troubled flight created a rift between Carpenter and NASA bosses, and he never flew in space again. But he turned to sea exploration, and in 1965, he spent 30 days under the ocean off the California coast in the Navy’s SeaLab II program.
On Saturday, nine other astronauts, Colorado politicians and dozens of friends and family members joined Glenn at Carpenter’s funeral at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder.
Glenn and Carpenter became friends during astronaut training, and it was Carpenter who gave Glenn his memorable blessing as Glenn prepared to launch into space: “Godspeed, John Glenn.”
“Godspeed, Scott,” Glenn said Saturday, and then paused as emotion overtook his voice. “You are missed.”
Carpenter was born May 1, 1925, in Boulder and graduated from high school there before serving in the Navy in World War II and the Korean War. He was chosen for the Mercury space program in 1959.