Former astronaut Scott Carpenter on the deck of the Intrepid aircraft carrier in New York City on May 23, 2012.(Photo: Todd Plitt, USA TODAY)
Astronaut Scott Carpenter gestures after donning his space suit in Hangar S prior to being shot into orbit at Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 24, 1962.(Photo: NASA)
DENVER (AP) - The second American to orbit the Earth and one of the last surviving original Mercury 7 astronauts has died.
Astronaut Scott Carpenter was 88.
His wife, Patty Barrett, says Carpenter died of complications from a stroke in a Denver hospice.
As an astronaut and aquanaut who lived underwater for the U.S. Navy, Carpenter was the first man to explore both the depths of the ocean and the heights of space.
Carpenter gave the famous send-off - "Godspeed, John Glenn" - when Glenn became the first American in orbit in February 1962.
Three months later, Carpenter orbited the Earth three times. He lost contact with NASA during the off-target landing but was found safely floating in his life raft 288 miles away.