Friday, March 25, 2016

Gordon "Gordo" Cooper, Jr. and Faith 7 (Mercury Project)

faith 7Everybody 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.


  1. ""A dead terrorist is better than a soldier in jail.",7340,L-4783338,00.html

    Did that soldier "murder," that terrorist? At one time I would have said yes. Now, after all the stabbings etc I just don't know what to think.

    1. Of course it was not murder!

      In my criminal law days I would have relished a case like this.

      I would have demanded an acquittal but at worst would have expected a conviction for Manslaughter (what Americans call murder in the second degree )

      The soldier had his back to the terrorist and was walking away

      The murderous terrorist moved. Who among us can possibly say that the terrorist was not reaching for the trigger of a bomb in his jacket?

      This IDF soldier is innocent of everything other than being a soldier.

    2. B'Tselem is an enemy entity on EU payroll. I'm sick of sacrificing our own so some leftist freaks can preen about how moral they are. IDFs job his to protect Israelis (including arabs), not score brownie points with Jew haters.

    3. I could not agree more.
      They have no idea at all about how hard and dangerous those jobs are.

    4. "They have no idea at all about how hard and dangerous those jobs are."

      A trip to Harry's Place would certainly confirm that point.

    5. I would have to know more about precisely what was happening on the ground directly in the moments prior to the shooting, before I could make a fair judgment.

      I will tell you this, tho, I have zero sympathy with dead terrorists who sought to murder Jews on the land of the Jewish people.

    6. There is now a video with sound.

  2. The war in Vietnam at that point in time was not too much in the news. Certainly not the story that a few years later would consume a nation and change our political culture for both better and worse.

    In 1963, the space program was much bigger news, until Dallas, which even all these decades later still can get me choked up. Thankfully the Beatles showed up soon afterward. I think that was very important to the psyche of the youth of America.

    1. Well, sure, but it was there and growing.

    2. Of course. But it kind of crept up on us. Remember, that for a long time the public supported it.

  3. The difference between the 3CP space program and the America can be viewed through the lens of tactical victories on the one hand and creating and aiming for a strategic goal on the other.

    The Soviets had the first orbiting satellite, the first animals in space, the first man in orbit, the first heavy booster, the first ICBM, the first unmanned hard (crash) lunar landing, the first unmanned soft lunar landing, the first (and only) unmanned lunar soil return to earth, the first unmanned lunar rover, the first unmanned hard and soft landings on Mars, the first unmanned return of data from a soft landing on Mars, first unmanned hard and a soft landings on Venus, first unmanned data return from the Venusian atmosphere, first unmanned soft landing (sort of) data return from Venus.

    These are all pretty impressive tactical successes. Whereas the Americans have set out to very specific narrow strategic objectives. Land men on the moon and return them with geologic samples, land men on the moon for extended rover travel and return them with geologic samples, land unmanned probes on the moon and Mars and return data and perform specific scientific measurements in various orbits around the earth, moon and many other planets and moons.

    After the Americans reached the moon in 1969 the Soviet Union appears to have given up trying to get any manned mission out of Earth orbit and instead focused on long duration earth orbit programs; Salyut and Mir and for what its worth, the science provided by those programs is invaluable.

    But in my own sanguine view the Russians may have been on the right track w/o knowing it. I believe that when the ISS is finally decommissioned sometime between 2020-2024 that apart from a few national pride programs by India, China and Japan that manned spaceflight will be effectively over for the rest of the century. I don't believe there's going to be a return to the moon or ever a serious attempt to go to Mars. The basic costs, complexities and fears of failure are too high. We're not an exploring people any more. Oh I'm sure Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos will make a fortune sending millionaires into space for short trips but that's more a like an amusement park ride. On the whole, we're done. We're stuck here. Forever.