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Wally Schirra

Wally SchirraAKA Walter Marty Schirra, Jr.

Born: 12-Mar-1923
Birthplace: Hackensack, NJ
Died: 3-May-2007
Location of death: Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, CA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronaut, Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Commander of Apollo 7

Military service: US Navy (pilot 1948-59)

Wally Schirra was the fifth American in space (Mercury 8) and the only astronaut to have flown Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. One of the original "Mercury 7" astronauts, he began training in the space program in 1959. On 3 October 1962, Schirra manned the diminutive Mercury 8, completing all mission objectives, including 6 orbits around the Earth covering 143,983 miles at 17,558 miles per hour. The mission lasted more than 9 hours. On 15 December 1965, Schirra made his second space flight, on Gemini 6a, a mission notable both for the steel nerves of Commander Schirra and pilot Thomas Stafford (riding out earlier failed launches) and the close vehicular synchronization achieved during their rendezvous with the Gemini 7 craft crewed by Jim Lovell and Frank Borman. Schirra made his final space flight on 11 October 1968 as commander of Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo flight following the fatal Apollo 1 test disaster. Another rendezvous mission, Apollo 7, saw Schirra and crew members Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham synching up their craft with the Saturn 1-B launch vehicle. The mission provided the first televised pictures from a U.S. spacecraft.

In 1969 Schirra retired from the U.S. Navy and NASA to begin his extensive career in business. He held high-ranking positions at Regency Investors, ECOO Corp., SERNCO, Johns-Manville, Goodwin Company, and finally his own Schirra Enterprises.

Although his name is not as recognizable as Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong, Schirra's face is familiar due to his many public appearances speaking on the lessons of the space program. Schirra received numerous medals and awards and wrote or was involved in a number of books: Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon, Schirra's Space, We Seven, and Wildcats to Tomcats: The Tailhook Navy. Schirra was portrayed in the 1983 film The Right Stuff by actor Lance Henriksen.

Father: Walter Marty Schirra, Sr. (engineer)
Mother: Florence Leach
Sister: Georgia
Wife: Josephine Cook Fraser (one son, one daughter)
Son: Walter M. Schirra III (b. 23-Jun-1950)
Daughter: Suzanne Karen (b. 29-Sep-1957)

    High School: Dwight Morrow High School, Englewood, NJ (1940)
    University: Newark College of Engineering
    University: BS, US Naval Academy (1942-45)

    American Astronautical Society Fellow
    Center for Economic and Social Justice Board of Counselors
    Center for Military Readiness Board of Advisors
    Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation Board of Advisors
    Joe Foss Institute National Advisory Board
    Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute Co-Chair, Science Committee
    Lindbergh Foundation Board of Directors
    Pacific Aviation Museum Advisory Board
    Richard I. Bong WWII Heritage Center Honorary Board of Directors
    San Diego Air & Space Museum Honorary Board of Directors
    Water Works Conservancy, Inc Board of Advisors
    Sigma Pi Fraternity
    Freemasonry 33rd degree
    National Aviation Hall of Fame
    Visited Disneyland (21-May-1998)

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