Gordon Cooper was the youngest of the seven original Mercury astronauts, the ones who famously had “the right stuff.”
He was a World War II fighter pilot, later a test pilot who was chosen as one of the first seven astronaut in 1959.
As part of the Mercury program, Cooper was the first American astronaut to spend an entire day in space, and the first to sleep in space.
And later Cooper was a key member of the Gemini program. He retired from NASA in 1970.
I met and interviewed him thirty years later. Here, now, my interview with Gordon Cooper from 2000:
Astronaut Gordon Cooper died on October 4th, 2004 at age 77.