L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.
Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr.
Born March 6, 1927 in Shawnee, Oklahoma

Physical Appearance:
Brown hair
Brown eyes
5 feet 8 inches, 155 lb..

Family:
parents - Colonel Leroy Gordon Cooper, Sr. and Hattie Lee Cooper
1st wife - Trudy B. (Olson) Cooper, 2nd wife - Susan (Taylor) Cooper
He has four daughters.

Education:
BS Aeronautical Engineering from Air Force Institute of Technology, 1956

Honors:
Honorary Doctorate of Science from Oklahoma City University, 1957
Air Force Legion of Merit
Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross
NASA Exceptional Service Medal
NASA Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings
Air Force Command Missileman's Badge
National Aeronautic Association's Robert J. Collier Trophy
Harmon International Trophy
Scottish Rite 33 Degrees
York Rite Knight of the Purple Cross
And many more...

Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper, after graduating high school, enlisted in the Marine Corp.  He was assigned to the Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS), and later served with the Presidential Honor Guard in Washington DC. 

Then, after being discharged from the Marine Corp, he attended University of Hawaii where he met and married his first wife, Trudy Olson.  They had two daughters.  While at the university he was commissioned by the U.S. Army ROTC program, and later transferred to the Air Force to become a pilot.  He received his wings in 1950 after completing his flight training in Perrin Air Force Base, Texas and Williams Air Force Base, Arizona. 

After returning from being stationed in Germany in 1954, Cooper attended the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio, where he received a bachelor's degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1956.  From there he was assigned to Edward's Air Force Base, California; home of the Experimental Flight Test School.  He trained at the test school until 1957 and became an Air Force test pilot. 

Upon graduation he tested many new aircraft, then was one of the 110 test pilots invited by NASA to volunteer for the selection process for the Mercury Project.  The Mercury Project interested Cooper tremendously and was ready to become one of the Mercury Seven.  At the April 9, 1959 press conference, he was announced as one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts.  During his time with the program he served various functions: capsule communicator for John Glenn's Friendship 7 mission - MA-6 and for Scott Carpenter's Aurora 7 mission - MA-7, as well as backup pilot for Wally Schirra's Sigma 7 mission.  Cooper actually had the opportunity to fly on May 15, 1963 as pilot for MA-9, named the Faith 7.  He orbited Earth 22 times, being in space longer than the previous five missions put together.  The flight was 34 hours, 19 minutes, and 49 seconds long, 546,167 miles at 17,547 miles per hour.  He achieved the highest orbit thus far, 165.9 miles high. 

This was the last Mercury mission flown.  However Cooper participated in the Gemini Project, the successor to the Mercury Project.  He flew the GT-5 as commander on August 21, 1965.  The flight lasted 7 days, 22 hours, 55 minutes, and 14 seconds.  It orbited the Earth 120 times and landed on August 29, 1965.  Total, Cooper logged 225 hours, 15 minutes, and 3 seconds in space.  That was the last mission Cooper ever flew, but he remained with NASA in other functions.  And after leaving the space program, he became director and consultant to various companies in the field.

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