Everybody seemed to like Gordo.
He was one of the original seven and the guy that actually gave Gene Kranz a lift from the base when he first showed up at NASA in Florida... allegedly driving like a maniac.
Cooper did the last of the Mercury shots, Mercury-Atlas 9, on May 15, 1963.
Atlas, of course, was the rocket that lifted Cooper's Mercury capsule, Faith 7, into space.
The purpose of the Mercury program, as mentioned before, was simply to see if we could not put a human being into orbit around the Earth and bring him back alive. But really the purpose of Mercury was to get to the Gemini program, which had the purpose of getting us to the Apollo program for the purpose of putting Neal Armstrong on the face of the moon.
Of course, when Gordo went up they did not know that it was going to be Armstrong to get the big honor about six years later.
The Mercury shots were single-man shots. The Gemini shots were dual-man shots and, needless to say, the Apollo shots were three-man shots.
When Gordo circled the Earth, John Kennedy had barely six months left to live. In that year the Dodgers swept the Yanks in the World Series and the Beats were in the relatively early process of transmogrifying themselves into hippies.
The Beatles showed up and the New Left was beginning to emerge out of the universities.
Jack Kerouac had gone into decline from the bottle, Hunter S. Thompson was struggling to find his voice, and William F. Buckley was seeking to purge anti-Semites from the conservative movement via the National Review.
And there was a war in Vietnam.