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Major Cooper Reviews Flight

May 17, 1963 - Major Gordon Cooper expressed wonderment today at being able to see his home area near Houston, Tex., and smoke curling out of houses in Tibet from more than 100 miles in space. Repeatedly, his physicians reported today, the astronaut came back to the theme of how clear the weather was during his flight and how clearly he could see landmarks as the earth passed beneath his Faith 7 capsule speeding at 17,500 miles an hour. “It was an ideal day for an ideal flight,” he remarked at one point to the doctors. As he flew over Houston yesterday at an altitude of about 110 miles, he reported that he was able to see the Clear Lake area where he lives and where the space agency’s Manned Space Flight Center is being built. He was not able to pick out his home, which is hidden in trees and is difficult for him to spot even when flying in an airplane. Unlike previous Mercury astronauts, Major Cooper had the sensation of flying at a tremendous speed around the earth. The difference was explained by the fact that there was far less cloud cover, and he could see large land masses moving rapidly beneath him. Dr. Richard A. Pollard, Project Mercury physician, reported that the astronaut was in normal physical shape, “rested, cheerful, eager, and anxious to get to work” on describing the engineering details of the flight.


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