Wally Schirra

Easton Press Wally Schirra books

Schirra's Space - Signed edition as part of the 6 volume Astronaut Library - 1997


Astronaut Wally Schirra

Wally Schirra, a pioneering American astronaut, was born Walter Marty Schirra Jr. on March 12, 1923, in Hackensack, New Jersey. He would go on to become one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts selected by NASA, cementing his place in history as one of the first Americans to venture into space. Schirra's interest in aviation and space exploration was sparked at a young age, fueled by his fascination with flight and his experiences as a naval aviator during World War II and the Korean War. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1945, he pursued a career in the United States Navy, where he became a test pilot and eventually rose to the rank of captain.

In 1959, Schirra was chosen as one of the seven astronauts for Project Mercury, NASA's first human spaceflight program. He made history on October 3, 1962, when he piloted the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission, also known as Sigma 7, becoming the fifth American in space. During his nine-hour flight, Schirra orbited the Earth six times, demonstrating the capabilities of NASA's spacecraft and contributing valuable data to the space program. Schirra's achievements continued with his selection for the Gemini program, NASA's second human spaceflight program. He commanded the Gemini 6A mission in December 1965, during which his spacecraft performed the first rendezvous with another manned spacecraft, Gemini 7, piloted by astronaut Frank Borman. This historic rendezvous paved the way for future space missions and laid the groundwork for the Apollo program's lunar missions.

In 1968, Schirra served as the commander of Apollo 7, the first crewed mission of NASA's Apollo program. This mission marked a crucial step towards the goal of landing humans on the Moon, testing the Apollo spacecraft's systems and conducting various scientific experiments in Earth orbit.

Throughout his career as an astronaut, Schirra distinguished himself as a skilled pilot, a meticulous engineer, and a natural leader. His calm demeanor, technical expertise, and dedication to safety earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and the nation.

After retiring from NASA and the Navy in 1969, Schirra pursued a career in broadcasting and business, becoming a respected commentator and consultant in the aerospace industry. He remained an advocate for space exploration and continued to inspire future generations of astronauts and engineers. Wally Schirra passed away on May 3, 2007, but his legacy as a trailblazing astronaut and pioneer of human spaceflight lives on, serving as a reminder of the courage, ingenuity, and spirit of exploration that define the human quest for the stars.


Schirra's Space

In Schirra's Space, Wally Schirra recounts his remarkable journey from his early days as a naval aviator to his historic flights into space. He shares insights into the rigorous selection process, the intense training regimens, and the challenges of preparing for the unknown frontier of space exploration.

The book offers readers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most pivotal moments in American space history, including Schirra's Mercury-Atlas 8 mission (Sigma 7), his Gemini 6A mission with the first space rendezvous, and his command of Apollo 7, the first crewed Apollo mission. Throughout the book, Schirra provides firsthand anecdotes, technical details, and personal reflections, offering a unique perspective on the triumphs and trials of the early days of human spaceflight. His narrative is engaging, informative, and infused with the same humor and charm that characterized his persona as an astronaut.

Schirra's Space is not only a captivating memoir but also a valuable historical document that sheds light on the pioneering spirit and camaraderie of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. It remains a must-read for space enthusiasts, historians, and anyone interested in the extraordinary achievements of the early astronauts.

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