Schirra, Walter Marty, Jr

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Schirra, Walter Marty, Jr


Born Mar. 12, 1923, in Hackensack, N.J. US pilot and astronaut. Captain in the navy.

Schirra studied at the Newark College of Engineering in 1940 and 1941. He served in naval air units after graduating in 1945 from the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. Schirra also graduated from the Naval Air Safety Officer School at the University of Southern California and the test pilot training school at the Naval Air Test Center at Patuxent River, Md.

Schirra became a member of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut corps in 1959. On Oct. 3, 1962, he flew six orbits around the earth in a Mercury capsule. The flight, designated MA-8, lasted 9 hr 13 min. On Dec. 15 and 16, 1965, as command pilot, Schirra flew with T. Stafford aboard the Gemini 6 spacecraft. Gemini 6 achieved rendezvous on December 15 with the Gemini 7 craft, which had been launched into orbit on December 4. During formation flying that lasted 5.5 hr, the ships maneuvered to within 1 m of each other. The total flight time was 25 hr 51 min.

From Oct. 11 to Oct. 22, 1968, with W. Cunningham and D. Eisele aboard, Schirra completed 163 orbits of the earth as commander of the Apollo 7 spacecraft. During the flight, which lasted 10 days 20 hr 9 min, Schirra conducted the first flight test of the Apollo command module. Schirra’s three flights gave him a total of 295 hr 13 min of flying time in space.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.