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Cooper Reports on Spaceflight

May 19, 1963 - Major Gordon Cooper (pictured in his capsule after recovery) gave the world today a personal report on his 22-orbit, 34-hour space journey. He told of a productive flight that was marred only by electrical difficulties and by troubles with a liquid condensation system that will need fixing for other space projects. The 36-year-old astronaut, asked about talk of another Mercury flight lasting as long as six days, said he thought the Mercury team “certainly can lengthen” its mission. But Dr. Robert C. Seamans Jr., associate administrator of NASA, said Major Cooper’s flight had been so successful that he thought it “quite unlikely” there would be another Mercury flight. Major Cooper was the sixth man to take off in a Mercury capsule and the fourth to orbit the earth. The second stage, due to get underway with an unmanned rocked launching next December or January, is the Gemini program. This stage, which will involve even longer flights by two-man teams, is designed to culminate in the launching of two capsules that would rendezvous in space. The final stage is the Apollo program. Its goal is to send a three-man spaceship to the moon before 1970.


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