Astronaut Scott Carpenter, 88, died Thursday from complications from a recent stroke. The NASA pioneer not only leaves behind stellar legacy, but also penned a memoir in 2003, For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey of a Mercury Astronaut. It’s more than an autobiography, it’s a history lesson.
The book was written by Carpenter and his daughter Kris Stoever. Stoever was six years old when her father orbited the Earth on May 24, 1962. She has worked as an editor and writer since her graduation from Georgetown University with a degree in history.
Carpenter’s 384-page autobiography begins his life growing up in Boulder, Colo. with his grandparents because his mother was ill with tuberculosis. The book covers his Navy pilot career, serving in two wars, to his career as a Mercury astronaut and finally to his pioneering underwater exploration.
According to Carpenter’s website, For Spacious Skies “offers this Mercury astronaut’s never-before-told account of life at NASA. He takes us through the mysteries of the selection process to the desert for survival training, into the simulator, and onto the contour couch. He describes, in stunning detail, the flight that made him the second American to orbit the Earth.”
In addition, the book details the story of May 24, 1962 when the small spacecraft Aurora 7 took Carpenter into space. The Aurora 7 began to malfunction, which later was determined as “a glitch in Aurora 7’s pitch horizon scanner. It forced Carpenter to overshoot his anticipated landing site by 250 miles and caused considerable scrutiny about decisions made during the flight. The book clears up “all lingering questions about his flight, while telling the history of an amazing frontier family and the American pioneer spirit.”