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Gordon Cooper, NASA Mercury Pioneer, Dies
LOS ANGELES - Gordon Cooper, the last astronaut to take flight during NASA's pioneering Mercury program, has died. He was 77.
LOS ANGELES - Gordon Cooper, the last astronaut to take flight during NASA (news - web sites)'s pioneering Mercury program, has died. He was 77.
As one of the nation's first astronauts, Cooper became a hero to a generation of Americans in the early 1960s as the country tried to catch the Soviet Union in the space race.
"He truly portrayed the right stuff, and he helped gain the backing and enthusiasm of the American public, so critical for the spirit of exploration," NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said.
I can't say the world is emptier because of his passing, because he left behind such a record of achievement, but I can say that he will be missed. Astronauts have always been my heroes.