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Mercury-Atlas 7 mission

It was 50 years ago today, that Scott Carpenter flew the second American manned orbital flight when he piloted the Aurora 7 through three orbits of the Earth on a mission that lasted less than 5 hours.

In this photo, taken on May 24, 1962, Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter looks into his Mercury-Atlas 7 spacecraft, the Aurora 7, before being inserted to begin the launch.

And right now, another mission into space is about to make history, as SpaceX's unmanned Dragon prepares to dock with the International Space Station.

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Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter

Publicity photo of Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter.

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Carpenter in Hanger S crew quarters during suiting activity

Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter, prime pilot for the Mercury-Atlas 7 flight, is seen in Hanger S crew quarters during a pre-flight suiting activity at Cape Canaveral, Fla. He is assisted in suiting by technician Al Rochford. In this view, Carpenter is fully suited and is having his gloves adjusted.

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Leaving White Room for launch site

Astronaut Scott Carpenter is seen leaving the White Room, where astronauts make final preparations, for the launch site to begin the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission.

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Boarding the Aurora 7 spacecraft

Astronaut Scott Carpenter is inserted inside his Aurora 7 spacecraft, before the launch of the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission.

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Carpenter is inserted into Aurora 7 spacecraft

Astronaut Scott Carpenter, pilot of the Mercury-Atlas 7 space flight, is inserted into Aurora 7 spacecraft during the prelaunch countdown on May 24, 1962. Carpenter is assisted into the spacecraft by Astronaut John Glenn and Gunter Vendt, McDonnell Douglas pad capsule test conductor.

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Atlas rocket at Launch Complex 14

Aurora 7 sits atop an Atlas rocket at Launch Complex 14 (LC-14) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

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Aurora 7 liftoff

Aurora 7, atop an Atlas rocket, lifts off from Launch Complex 14 (LC-14) on May 24, 1962.

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Aurora 7 prepares for flight

Aurora 7, the spacecraft destined to carry Project Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter on a planned three-orbit trip around the earth, is examined at launch pad 14 by technicians of McDonnell Aircraft Company, prime spacecraft contractor.

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Entering the Mercury capsule

Astronaut Scott Carpenter enters his Mercury capsule, Aurora 7, in May 1962.

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Earth from above, 1962

Photo of Earth taken from orbit by Scott Carpenter in 1962.

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Earth from above, 1962

Photo of Earth taken from orbit by Scott Carpenter in 1962.

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Earth from above, 1962

Photo of Earth taken from orbit by Scott Carpenter in 1962.

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Closeup of Astronaut Scott Carpenter inside

Closeup of Astronaut Scott Carpenter inside his Aurora 7 spacecraft before the launch of the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission.

Updated:Caption:Photo:NASA
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Astronaut Scott Carpenter recieves call from President

Astronaut Scott Carpenter, prime pilot for the Mercury-Atlas 7 (MA-7) mission, talks with President John F. Kennedy via radio-telephone from aboard the carrier U.S.S. Intrepid. Carpenter was recovered by a helicopter and taken to the U.S.S. Intrepid after a 4 hour and 56 minute mission in space.

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