Encyclopedia Astronautica
1963.05.19 - Cooper reviewed his experiences aboard Mercury Faith 7


On a national televised press conference, emanating from Cocoa Beach, Florida, astronaut Gordon Cooper reviewed his experiences aboard the Faith 7 during the Mercury-Atlas 9 (MA-9) mission.

Cooper, in his discussion, proceeded systematically throughout the mission from countdown through recovery. He opened his comments by complimenting Calvin Fowler of General Dynamics for his fine job on the console during the Atlas launching. During the flight, he reported that he saw the haze layer formerly mentioned by Schirra during the Sigma 7 flight (MA-8) and John Glenn's 'fireflies' (MA-6). As for the sleep portion, Cooper felt he had answered with finality the question of whether sleep was possible in space flight. He also mentioned that he had to anchor his thumbs to the helmet restraint strap to prevent his arms from floating, which might accidently trip a switch. Probably the most astonishing feature was his ability visually to distinguish objects on the earth. He spoke of seeing an African town where the flashing light experiment was conducted; he saw several Australian cities, including the large oil refineries at Perth; he saw wisps of smoke from rural houses on the Asiatic Continent; and he mentioned seeing Miami Beach, Florida, and the Clear Lake area near Houston. With reference to particular problems while in flight, the astronaut told of the difficulties he experienced with the condensate water pumping system. During the conference, when Dr. Robert C. Seamans was asked about the possibilities of a Mercury-Atlas 10 (MA-10) flight, he replied that 'It is quite unlikely.'

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