The Six Mercury Orbits of Walter M. Schirra, Jr.

Colin Burgess

SIGMA 7: The Six Mercury Orbits of Walter M. Schirra, Jr. Few men can claim legendary status in their own lifetime, but NASA astronaut Walter Marty ("Wally") Schirra can. An exemplary pilot born of pilots, he was selected to command the third manned orbital flight in the Mercury series. Mercury-Atlas 8 (MA-8) was a risk-laden extended space mission that demanded exceptional skills, technical ingenuity, courage and a calm demeanor. Schirra brought all this and more to NASA in completing an epic 6-orbit flight aboard a compact spacecraft called Sigma 7.

Drawn from interviews, correspondence and archival material, this book relates the unforgettable story of one man's odyssey through the perilous early years of human space exploration, together with its many heart-stopping explosive situations, spectacular triumphs, and devastating tragedies. A true and beloved hero of the space age, Schirra would achieve lasting fame as the only astronaut to fly in all three of NASA's pioneering space programs: Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Tracy Kornfeld
Author's prologue

1. A pilot born of pilots
2. The making of a flight-ready astronaut
3. The art of space flight
4. Sigma 7 flies
5. Six times around the world
6. "A sweet little bird"
7. Press conferences, parades, and post-flight honors
8. Mercury, Gemini and Apollo veteran

Epilogue: Final salute to a hero
About the author

Extent: 298 pages, Black and white/colour images integrated with text
Binding: Paperback
Published: 2016
ISBN: 978-3-319-27982-4

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