Walter Marty Schirra
(Capt, USN, Ret.)
(1923 – 2007)
Missions: Mercury-Atlas 8, Gemini 6A, Apollo 7
Time in Space: 295 hours, 15 minutes
NASA astronaut Walter Marty “Wally” Schirra, Jr., was born on March 12, 1923, in Hackensack, New Jersey. He attended the Newark College of Engineering before receiving an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. Joining the Navy upon his graduation in 1945, Schirra served aboard the USS Alaska during the final months of World War II and flew combat missions during the Korean War.
Schirra began his career with NASA in April 1959 when he was selected to join the first group of astronauts, also known as the Mercury Seven. Schirra flew three space missions: as Pilot for Mercury-Atlas 8 in October 1962, making him the fifth American in space; as Command Pilot for Gemini 6A in December 1965, during which Schirra led the first manned space rendezvous; and as Commander for Apollo 7 in October 1968, the first manned flight of the Apollo spacecraft. In total, Schirra logged 295 hours and 15 minutes in space, and became the only astronaut to fly all three spacecraft.
Schirra left NASA in 1969 to pursue a career in business. He maintained his association with the manned spaceflight program, however, co-authoring several books and serving as a consultant for CBS News during lunar-landing missions. He died of a heart attack on May 3, 2007, at the age of 84.