Guitar-playing Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter, the fourth American to journey into outer space, died today in a Denver hospice. A U.S. Navy Commander, Carpenter was one of the original seven astronauts selected for the U.S. manned space program. His flight, on May 24, 1962, consisted of three orbits aboard the Aurora 7 spacecraft; he was the second American to orbit the Earth, following John Glenn’s flight in February of that year.
While in training in the early ’60s, Carpenter purchased a Gretsch 6117 Double Anniversary guitar on a visit to New York City. His daughter, jazz guitarist Candace Carpenter, still owns the instrument, which was profiled in the March ’06 issue of Vintage Guitar magazine.