CAPT Schirra passed way at the age of 84, in LaJolla, California, Thursday, 03 May 2007, after being hospitalized for a heart attack. He was earlier diagnosed with cancer.
Mission Logos for Sigma VII, Gemini VI, and Apollo VII
Became only the second Naval Aviator to log 1,000 hours in a jet aircraft.
Exchange pilot with the US Air Force, flying 90 combat missions during the Korean Conflict. Credited with one MIG-15 shoot down, and damaging two others.
During his tour at NOTS tested weapons systems such as the Sidewinder Missile, flight testing of the F7U-3 Cutlass, and the F-4 Phantom.
One of the original seven American Astronauts
03 October 1962 he became the fifth American in Space, piloting the Mercury 8(Sigma 7).
15 December 1965, made his second flight into space in Gemini 6A with Tom Stafford, rendezvousing with astronauts Frank Borman and James Lovell Jr. in Gemini 7. This was the first rendezvous of two manned spacecraft in earth orbit. The two vehicles, however were not capable of actually docking.
11 October 1968, he became the first man to fly in space three times on his flight as commander of Apollo 7, the first manned flight in the Apollo Program.
During the Apollo flight, he caught what was perhaps the most famous cold in NASA histroy. He took Actifed to relieve his symptoms upon the advice of the flight surgeon. Years later he became a spokeman for Actifed and would appear in television commericals advertising the product.
During later Apollo Missions he served as a news consultant, often being interviewed by Walter Cronkite on CBS News.
Only person to fly all three original Space Programs, Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.
Wally's Favorite Flight Milestones:
Falling asleep on the way to the launch pad.
Answering Slayton on the onboard voice recorder "YBYSAIA"
Solving the coolant valve settings during the first orbit. Slowly adjusting.
Preflight work on reading yaw alttitude. This saved Cooper on MA-9.
Blew hatch on carrier deck and wounded right hand from the recoil of the push button, proving that Grissom did not blow the hatch on his flight.
First rendezvous ever.
The first "Beat Army" banner in space.
The first UFO reported from space with bells and the harmonica rendition of "Jingle Bells"