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St. Louisan Remembers Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter

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Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter. Photo via the JFK Presidential Library.

Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter. Photo via the JFK Presidential Library.

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - America lost another of its early space pioneers yesterday as Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter died at the age of 88.

Along with America’s first space joyride, during which he had so much fun looking around he almost used up all of the ship’s fuel, Carpenter may be best known for uttering the words “Godspeed, John Glenn.”

Sitting next to Carpenter that day was McDonnell Aircraft communications engineer and St. Louisan Norman Beckell. He remembers another pre-launch conversation.

“Scott said to John, ‘John, just remember this whole thing was made by the low bidder,'” Beckell recalls.

Beckell remembers Carpenter as one of the quietest of the seven Mercury astronauts but with a knack for timing when times got tough.

“There was a lot of tense moments in testing one thing or another and he could always say something that would sort of lighten the atmosphere,” Beckell said.

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