Family, friends gather to remember Boulder astronaut Scott Carpenter


Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

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BOULDER, Colo. — Hundreds of people gathered in Boulder Saturday to remember a man whose life took him into the heavens.

Scott Carpenter was a Boulder-bred astronaut who died last month from complications of a stroke.

Saturday morning, his family, friends and admirers paid their final respects at St. John’s Episcopal Church. The weather even cooperated for the final send-off to the second American ever to orbit the earth in 1962.

His daughter, Candy Carpenter, doesn’t remember the magnitude of what her dad accomplished fifty years ago, but she said seeing his friends like fellow astronaut John Glenn brings those memories home.

“He was an exceptional man. Obviously, to have become one of the original 7,” Candy said.

Carpenter spent time in the Navy, loved music and loved his hometown.

Born in Boulder in 1925, Carpenter became a naval aviation cadet in 1943, attending Colorado College until World War II interrupted his studies.

He later entered the University of Colorado to study aeronautical engineering but left school, with only one credit left to complete his degree, and received a Navy commission in 1949.

CU later awarded Carpenter his degree in 1962 following his flight in space.  When presenting the degree to Carpenter, then-CU President Quigg Newton noted that “his subsequent training as an astronaut has more than made up for his deficiency in the subject of heat transfer.”

During the Korean War, Carpenter participated in anti-submarine patrols and shipping surveillance missions in the Yellow Sea, the South China Sea, and the Formosa Straits.

In 1954, he was assigned to the electronics division of the Naval Air Test Center, where he conducted experiments on a variety of airplanes.

NASA announced its first astronauts, the Mercury 7, in 1959.  Carpenter joined L. Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Virgil Grissom, Walter Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Donald Slayton

Carpenter was 88.

CNN contributed to this report.

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