Mercury Seven's 'Wally' Schirra Passes

Walter M. "Wally" Schirra Jr., one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts has passed away from natural causes, according to a NASA report today, May 2nd. He was 84.

Details are not yet available.

Schirra was the only astronaut to fly in all of the space agencies first three programs.

In 1962, he became the third American in space, orbiting the Earth six times in flight that was over nine hours in length.

In 1965 he commanded Gemini 6A as it rendezvoued with Gemini 7; a first in space flight. They flew in formation for five hours, at tomes as close as one foot to each other.

His final mission in 1968 had him commanding Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo flight. During that eleven day Earth orbit the spacecraft broadcast the firt live video feed to commerical TV networks.

Fittingly, after retiring from the space progam in 1969, he became a space comentator for CBS News until 1975, often paired with Walter Cronkite.

He was a Captain in the US Navy, and according to NASA.GOV was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Air Medals, two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the Philippines Legion of Honor.

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