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NASA Postpones Carpenter's Orbital Flight

May 17, 1962 - Project Mercury officials announced tonight that the three-orbit flight of Lieut. Comdr. Scott Carpenter (pictured right with John Glenn) had been postponed until Tuesday at the earliest. The delay was ordered so that additional safeguards could be built into the system for springing the parachutes that are used to lower Mercury capsules safely to earth. On the Feb. 20 flight of Col. John H. Glenn Jr., the six-foot-wide ribbon parachute, known as a drogue, deployed at 27,000 feet — 6,000 feet higher than it should have. Mercury officials have decided to install a second altitude-sensing instrument in Commander Carpenter’s Aurora 7 capsule. They will also rewire the system so that signals must be received from both sensing instruments before the drogue ejects from the top of the capsule. After the postponement was announced, Commander Carpenter said: “This is part of the continuing process toward greater reliability — taking advantage of past flight experience. It gives me a better chance to work with confidence.”


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