Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois on June 13, 1963 · Page 8
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June 13, 1963

Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois · Page 8

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Alton, Illinois
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Thursday, June 13, 1963
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Page 8
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PAGE EIGHT ALTON EVENING TELEGRAPH THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 1963 Diary Tells Story of Cooper Orbital Trip KDITOR'S NOTF. — The Mrr- rury program is dead. Astronaut L. Gordon Coopor Jr. was the Inst man to fly tho pionnrr Mer- rury spacecraft. His 22-orbil record will likely slanri for two years as the U.S. spare endurance mark. Now the space agency has released the inboard tape recordings of the last Mercury mission. The following slory is an abstract of this space diary — Cooper'? own words as he saw i( and told it while he rode alone in the heavens. By JOHN BAKBOliR HOUSTON. Tex. (API — As you'd expect of a quiet nvin thrust suddenly into the focus of the world's eye. Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper Jr. told of his sp.u-e adventure host to himself and his diary. That diary — tape recordings he made on his '2'2 rapid-fire days riry/i nights in space — was 10- leased today by the N.itionRl Aeronautics and Space Administration. It is a graphic account of a man alone in his space CM bin on what has become the last flight of tne pioneer Mercury' spacecraft— <v>.i probably the last long-term flight of an American for almost two years. Parts Onrblctl There is no assurance that the transcript is complete. Parts of the trnnscription were garbled. Purls may have been deleted for security reasons. And once the troubles that endangered the j Cooper flight showed up he apparently gave up his private tape recording. : Conspicuous by its absence is any description of the rcmrirkable details Major Cooper said lie saw ; of a truck, a I rain and other signs of life in Ihe high Himalayas, including part of Red Chiiri. But aside from thai. Gx>per— in the privacy of his space cabin —seems finally relaxed and alone with the heavens, despite an apparent initial ovorawaronoss he \vns being tape recorded. Let the diary tell il: "Well (clears throat* first night sid? and I have a bright blue baiiil. A thick, diffused band of blue color — the sun is spread nut vi iy widely. It's settling now. And there it goes. A very bright blue band all the way around the earth." With less than an hour in spnce. Cooper reported to his diary. "And I have the haze layer that \Valiv (Schirra, a fellow astronaut) was talking about. I can :vc the stars down in it. And it is —up and around the enrth —to a number of degrees... T can see the stars above it. I can sec the stars down in it. Radio Contacts Cooper was constantly pulled out of his soliloquy by radio contact from the ground as he came within range of stations under his flight path. But then he returned to his diary: "Ha-ha. And now at this time . . . I'm observing John's (Glenn's) fireflies. Drifting away from me. I can observe them, appear to be departing from the spacecraft and drifting out to the rear. I then can see some of them a considerable distance xo the rear . . . The changes on the earth be- ',w contrasted sharply with the steady predictable world of space One minute Cooper was reporting' "Coming in over the coast of Africa. It's very clear here. No clouds. No haze. I'll try sn.i snap (some pictures) of the Atlas Mountains. . . It's very dry, veiy clear over Africa. We're drifting window down, ideal attitude." Half an hour later — over the south Indian Ocean — Cooper reported: "I am now drifting on the night side. I have the moon in sight. I'm upside down. I'm observing lightning flashes from considerable-size thunderstorms that are below me. These create static in the radio every time the lighting flashes down there." Troubles Hr also had troubles: "I'm eating a pot roast of beef. I'TO had considerable difficulty getting the water in it (dehydrated food in a plastic envelope) from this watei device on the McDonnell water tank. I spilled water all over my hands, and all over the cockpit here trying to get some in it. I have succeeded in getting about half of it dampened and am proceeding to eat. "I am washing my face with a damp rag now. Certainly feels good. . . "It is rather a strange foiling to be able to place objects out into the—into the cabin and It-t go of them and they'll stay in relatively their same position. This is worrisome as well as an odd sensation, handy sometime, but ah." The only close-up description of Erecting New Building at Marquette Park JERSEYV1LLE — Progress is being made on the construction of a building for storage of tree planting machinery, forest fire fighting equipment and other items at Marquette Park. Waldon Lewis, district forester, said Wednesday, that most of the work is being done by regular employes of the department. The storage shed will be 80 feet long by 20 feet wide and has been set p in an area where it will be un- er observation so that thieves may not readily enter it. One of the old buildings in the ark that was used as barracks or CCC workers back in Hie 930's has been used lor some me for the storage of equipment nd tools. Thr isolation of the bar- acks area has made it a simple ask for thieves to break in. Bnslc Training JERSEYVILLE — Gary Geron, who recently enlisted in the United States Air Force, left Wed- lesday for St. Louis to be assigned for basic training. land in the diary is this one: "I'm right over Africa, (time passes) I can see roads, and rivers, and some small towns, down here on the ground. Small villages or towns, can almost make out the individual houses." 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