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Astronaut Cooper Set for Blast-Off Tomorrow Morning

May 14, 1963 - After a 24-hour postponement, it’s “go” again for astronaut Gordon Cooper’s 22-orbit rocket ride tomorrow morning. Project Mercury officials announced tonight that a radar problem at the Bermuda tracking station had been corrected. Liftoff of Cooper’s Faith-7 capsule was rescheduled for 9 a.m. tomorrow. His objective is unchanged: 22 flights around the earth, for a total of 34 hours. Cooper’s flight today was scrubbed 13 minutes before blast-off because the Bermuda radar was turning up wrong numbers. The 36-year-old Air Force major — the youngest of the original seven astronauts — had spent a futile 5 hours and 51 minutes in his tiny Faith-7 space capsule. “Heck,” he said, “I was just getting to the real fun part.” When Project Mercury operations director Walt Williams consoled him with a “Gee Gordo, I’m sorry,” Cooper shrugged and said: “Oh well, we’ll try again tomorrow.” Cooper went deep-sea fishing this afternoon then got to bed early to get plenty of sleep before being strapped again into the spacecraft.


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