In May 1962, Scott Carpenter became the second American astronaut, after John Glenn, to orbit the Earth - and the first to survive a series of mishaps that might have ended in catastrophe.
I love space stuff - not enough to take physics or anything, but enough to really wish I had the cash to chase solar eclipses around the world. Why? Because I was in grade school during the best years of NASA's Apollo Program and some of my fondest memories are of our little family huddled around the TV to watch the launches and splashdowns of Apollos 14 to 17.
Back in 1983, when Sally Ride became the first American woman in space as a crew member on the space shuttle Challenger, the California-born astronaut shattered the glass ceiling of gender discrimination in a spectacular way.
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