Biography of American Astronauts: Scott Carpenter

About the United States astronaut Scott Carpenter, history of the NASA space program and biography of the man.

An Earthy Look at the American Astronauts

Scott Carpenter. Scott Carpenter appeared to be the most romantic of all the astronauts. He seemed to enjoy playing his guitar alone on the beach, or writing love letters to his wife, as much as soaring into space in Aurora 7 in May 1962 on a near-repeat of John Glenn's flight.

After his only space mission, he began concentrating all his energies on undersea exploration. In 1965, he spent 30 days living in the depths of the Pacific Ocean in the Navy's Sealab I, but physical ailments kept him from participating in the Sealab III dive, in which one diver was killed.

Carpenter's marriage then collapsed, coming as a shock to those who once heard him say: "There's nothing that could part us." He founded Sea Sciences Corporation, which specialized in underwater research, and then began doing TV commercials for Standard Oil promoting its F-310 gasoline, which allegedly made car engines run cleaner. A consumer group said that the claims were false, and sued for false advertising. Subsequent tests by the California Air Resources Board indicated that F-310 caused "no significant changes in emissions" and the commercials were removed from the air.

Carpenter later told Esquire, "They said that I'd been bought out by big business and lied for personal gain. I resent people thinking that I would lie. . . . I learned a lot. I learned for the 1st time to distrust people in general."

In more recent years, Carpenter has remarried, has sung in public with John Stewart (formerly of the Kingston Trio), and continues his interest in the oceanic environment.

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