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Schirra, Walter Marty Jr 'Wally'
Credit: www.spacefacts.de
American test pilot astronaut 1959-1969. Member of first crew to rendezvous in space, and commander of first manned Apollo mission. Remembered both for practical jokes and uncompromising attention to detail. Flew 90 combat missions in the Korean War.

Status: Deceased; Active 1959-1969. Born: 1923-03-12. Died: 2007-05-03. Spaceflights: 3 . Total time in space: 12.30 days. Birth Place: Hackensack, New Jersey.

Official NASA Biography as of June 2016:Walter M. Schirra (Captain, USN, Ret.)
NASA Astronaut (Deceased)

PERSONAL DATA: Born March 12, 1923, in Hackensack, New Jersey. Died on May 2, 2007. Survivors include his wife, daughter and son.

EDUCATION: Newark College of Engineering (N.J.I.T.), 1941; U.S. Naval Academy, 1942-1945 B.S.; Safety Officers School (U.S.C.), 1957; U.S. Navy Test Pilot School (N.A.T.C.) 1958; NASA Astronaut Training, 1959-1969; Honorary Doctorate in Astronautical Engineering, Lafayette College, 1969; Honorary Doctorate in Science, U.S.C., 1969; Honorary Doctorate in Astronautics, N.J.I.T., 1969; Trustee, Detroit Institute of Technology, 1969-1976; Advisor, Colorado State University, 1977-1982; Trustee, National College, South Dakota, 1983-1987.

AWARDS: The Collier Trophy, 1962; Kincheloe Award, SETP, 1963; Haley Astronautics Award - AIAA, 1963, 1969; Harmon International Trophy, 1965.

AWARDS-MILITARY: U.S. Navy Distinguished Service Medal; Distinguished Flying Cross (3); Air Medal (3); NASA Distinguished Service Medal (2); NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1); Philippines Legion of Honor (Commander).

HALLS OF FAME INDUCTED: International Aviation Hall of Fame, San Diego, CA, 1970; New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame, Teterboro, NJ, 1977 (approx.); International Space Hall of Fame, Alamagordo, NM, 1981; National Aviation Hall of Fame, Dayton, OH, 1986.

CLUBS: Society of Experimental Test Pilots (Fellow), 1958- present; AAS (Fellow), 1960-present; Explorers Club (Fellow) 1965-present; Makai Country Club, Kauai (Princeville), Hi, 1971-present; Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club, 1985-present; San Diego Yacht Club, 1987-present; Charlie Russell Riders, Charter Member, 1985-present; Rancheros Visitadores, Member, 1989-present; Desert Caballeros, Member, 1989-present; Durango Mountain Caballeros, Member, 1989-present; Q.E.D., San Diego, Ca, 1989-present; The Golden Eagles, (Naval Aviators), 1989- present.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Captain Schirra was one of the seven Mercury Astronauts named by NASA in April 1959. On October 3, 1962; he piloted the six orbit Sigma 7 Mercury flight; a flight which lasted 9 hours, 15 minutes. The spacecraft attained a velocity of 17,557 miles per hour at an altitude of 175 statue miles and traveled almost 144,000 statute miles before re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. Recovery of the Sigma 7 spacecraft occurred in the Pacific Ocean about 275 miles northeast of Midway Island.

Schirra next served as backup command pilot for the Gemini III Mission and on December 15-16, occupied the Command Pilot seat on the history-making Gemini 6 flight. The highlight of this mission was a successful rendezvous of Gemini 6 with the already orbiting Gemini 7 spacecraft, thus, accomplishing the first rendezvous of two manned maneuverable spacecraft and establishing another space first for the United States. Known as a “text book” pilot, Schirra remained in the spacecraft following his Mercury and Gemini flight and is the first Astronaut to be brought aboard recovery ships twice in this manner. With him on Gemini 6, was Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford.

He was the Command Pilot on Apollo VII, the first manned flight test of the three direction United States spacecraft. Apollo VII began on October 11, 1968, with Command Module Pilot Donn F. Eisele and Lunar Module Pilot Walter Cunningham. Schirra participated in, and executed, maneuvers enabling crew members to perform exercises in transposition and docking and orbit rendezvous with the S-IVB stage from the Saturn IB launch vehicle. The mission completed eight successful tests and maneuvering ignitions of the service module propulsion engine, measured the accuracy of performance of all spacecraft systems, and provided the first effective television transmission of on-board crew activities. Apollo VII was placed in an orbit with an apogee of 153.5 nautical miles and a perigee of 122.6 nautical miles.

The 260 hour 4.5 million mile shake down flight was concluded on October 22, with splashdown occurring in the Atlantic some 8 miles from the carrier Essex (only 3/10 of a mile from the originally predicted aiming point). Captain Schirra has logged a total of 295 hours and 15 minutes in space. He is unique in that he is the only Astronaut to have flown Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.

BUSINESS EXPERIENCE: Director, Imperial American (Oil & Gas), 1967, 68, 69; President, Regency Investors (Leasing), 1969-1970; Founder, Environmental Control Co. (ECCO), 1970-1973; Director, J.D. Jewel (Chicken Comp.) 1971, 72, 73; Director, First National Bank, Englewood, Co., 1971-1978; Belgian Consulate for Colorado and New Mexico, 1971-1984; Director, V.P., Chairman, Sernco, 1973-1974; Director, Rocky Mountain Airlines, 1973-1984; Director, Carlsberg Oil & Gas, 1974, 1975; V. P., Johns-Manville Sales Corp., Denver, Co, 1975, 76, 77; Director, Advertising Unlimited, Sleepy Eye, MN, 1978-87; Director, Electromedics, Denver, Co, 1979-1985; President, Prometheus Systems, Inc., 1980-1981; Director, Finalco (Leasing Co.), McLean, Va, 1983-1988; Director, Cherokee Data Systems, Boulder, Co, 1984-1986; Director, Net Air Int., Van Nuys, Ca, 1982-1989; Director, Kimberly-Clark, Neenah, Wi, 1983-1991; Independent Consultant, Schirra Enterprises, 1979-Present; Director, Zero Plus Telecommunications, Inc., Campbell, Ca, 1986-Present.

CIVIC ACTIVITIES: Advisory Committee, Oceans Foundations, San Diego, Ca, 1985-present; Advisory Board/Council, U.S. National Parks (Interior), 1973-1985; Director, Denver Organizing Committee for 1976 Olympics, 1973-1975; Advisor, Flight for Life, Mercy Hospital, Denver, Co, 1978-1986; Trustee, Colorado Outward Bound School ( COB), 1970-1974; COB Regional Trustee, 1988-present; Advisory Board, International "Up With People", 1976-present; Founder/Director, Mercury Seven Foundation, 1982-present; Director, San Diego Aerospace Museum, 1984-present; Trustee, Scripps Aquarium, 1985-present; International Council, The Salk Institute, La Jolla, Ca, 1989-present; Sharps Hospital, Foundations Board, San Diego, Ca, 1988- present.

PUBLICATIONS: We Seven, 1960; Schirra's Space, 1988.

MAY 2007

Official Biography

NAME: Walter M. Schirra

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Schirra was born in Hackensack, NJ, on March 12, 1923.

EDUCATION: Graduated United States Naval Academy in 1945

EXPERIENCE: Schirra received his Naval Flight Training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida, in 1947. He served as a carrier-based fighter pilot and operations officer and then attended the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland. During the Korean War he flew 90 combat missions in the F-86 Sabre as an exchange pilot with the U. S. Air Force and received the Distinguished Flying Cross

NASA selected Schirra as one of the original seven Mercury astronauts in 1959. He flew on the fifth Project Mercury flight, orbiting the earth in his Sigma 7 capsule six times in 9 hours 13 minutes on Oct. 3, 1962. Following the fiasco of Carpenter's preceding flight, he conducted a ‘textbook mission', with minimal experiments.

Schirra commanded Gemini 6, flying with astronaut Tom Stafford. They were to have tracked down and docked with an Agena satellite, but the Agena exploded after lift-off on Oct. 25, 1965. Innovative planners decided Gemini 6 would rendezvous with Gemini 7, a 14-day endurance flight manned by Frank Borman and James Lovell. Gemini 7 was launched Dec. 4, 1965. Gemini 6 was to take off December 12 but was aborted when the Titan 2 booster rocket engine shut down after ignition. Schirra coolly did not pull the ejection handles and stayed on the live booster until it could be safed. Three days later, Schirra and Stafford were launched and the rendezvoused with Gemini 7. After five hours of formation spaceflight, Schirra moved away from Gemini 7. He and Cernan returned to earth the next day while Gemini 7 continued its gruelling flight.

Schirra was commander of Apollo 7 - the first flight test of the redesigned Apollo after the first crew died in the Apollo 1 launch pad fire on January 27, 1967. Following launch on October 11, 1968, the flight was a complete success and provided NASA with confidence to send the next Apollo crew into orbit around the moon. However the Schirra and his crew suffered head colds and had numerous arguments with ground controllers. NASA management secretly decided that none of them would be allowed to fly in space again.

Schirra had already decided to retire from the Navy and NASA before the mission. In 1969 he entered a new business career. He served as an officer and director of several companies and eventually formed his own consultant company, Schirra Enterprises.

More at: Schirra.

Family: Astronaut. Country: USA. Spacecraft: Mercury, Gemini. Flights: Mercury MA-7, Mercury MA-7 Delta 7, Mercury MA-8, Mercury MA-11, Mercury MA-12, Gemini 3, Gemini 6, Apollo 204, Apollo 205, Apollo 7. Projects: Apollo. Agency: USN. Bibliography: 5976.
Photo Gallery

Apollo 7Apollo 7
Prime crew photographed during Apollo 7 mission
Credit: NASA

Apollo 7Apollo 7
Astronauts Schirra and Eisele seen in first live television transmission
Credit: NASA

1923 March 12 - .
1959 April 2 - .
1959 April 2 - .
1962 May - .
1962 May 24 - . 12:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
1962 October 3 - . 12:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
1962 October 7 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
1962 October 16 - .
1963 January 26 - .
1963 May 6 - .
By the end of 1963 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
By the end of 1963 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
1965 March 23 - . 14:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II GLV.
1965 April 5 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II.
1965 December 15 - . 13:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II GLV.
1965 December 16 - .
1966 September 29 - .
1967 January 27 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn IB.
1967 April - .
1968 October 11 - . 15:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC34. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn IB.
1968 October 22 - .
2007 May 3 - .

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