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Armstrong, Neil (05 August 1930–25 August 2012), aerospace engineer, test pilot, and astronaut, was born Neil Alden Armstrong in Auglaize County, Ohio, the first of three children of Stephen Koenig Armstrong and Viola Engel. His father, an auditor with a state agency, moved the family fourteen times before finally settling in Wapakoneta in 1944. Neil was a good student, a voracious reader who skipped a grade in elementary school; he won a freshman science award and represented his school in a state-wide civics program. He was also an Eagle Scout, played in the Blume High School band and orchestra, served as vice president of the student council in his senior year, and graduated at age sixteen....

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Carpenter, Scott (1 May 1925–10 Oct. 2013), astronaut, was born Malcolm Scott Carpenter in Boulder, Colorado, to Marion Scott Carpenter, a post-doctoral student in chemistry, and Florence Kelso (Noxon) Carpenter.

When his mother became ill with tuberculosis and his father abandoned them, “Buddy” was raised in Boulder by his grandparents, Victor Irwin Noxon, Progressive publisher of the ...

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Roger D. Launius

Challenger Shuttle Crew, astronauts, died in the explosion of their spacecraft during the launch of STS-51-L, comprising seven from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at about 11:40 a.m., EST, on 28 January 1986. The explosion occurred seventy-three seconds into the flight as a result of a leak in one of two solid rocket boosters that caused the main liquid fuel tank to ignite. The crew members of the ...

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Challenger Shuttle Crew. Top row, from the left: Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, and Judy Resnik. Bottom row, from the left: Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, and Ron McNair. Courtesy of NASA (JSC S85-44253 /GPN-2000-001173)

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Columbia Space Shuttle Crew. (Clockwise from left)Kalpana Chawla, David M. Brown, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, Ilan Ramon, Laurel B. Clark, and Rick D. Husband, 24 January 2003. Courtesy of AP Images.

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Roger D. Launius

Columbia Space Shuttle Crew, astronauts, refers to seven who died over Texas with the breakup of their spacecraft, the Space Shuttle Columbia, at 9:00:18 A.M. eastern standard time on 1 February 2003 during reentry into the atmosphere prior to landing at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The mission, STS‐107, had launched on 16 January and had undertaken multidisciplinary international scientific research and experiments. The crew members of the ...

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[left to right] Pete Conrad and L. Gordon Cooper Jr. on the deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lake Champlain following splashdown and recovery from the ocean. Courtesy of NASA (GPN-2000-001494).

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Pete Conrad on the moon. Photograph by Alan Bean. Courtesy of NASA. (GPN-2000-001104)

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Conrad, Pete (02 June 1930–08 July 1999), astronaut, was born Charles Peter Conrad in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Conrad, an investment broker, and Frances V. Sargent Conrad. He was called “Pete” from an early age because his mother liked the name. He was educated at the Haverford School in Haverford, Pennsylvania, and received his high school diploma from the Darrow School, New Lebanon, New York, in 1948. Like his father, who had served as a balloonist in World War I, Conrad was intrigued by flying. As a child, he built model airplanes. As a teenager, he hung around local garages and airfields, neglecting his schoolwork. He worked part time sweeping up in a machine shop to finance flying lessons and flew solo when he was sixteen. Encouraged by his father, he entered Princeton University in 1948 and earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering in 1953....

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L. Gordon Cooper. Tempera, pencil and ink on board, 1963, by Boris Chaliapin. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine.

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Cooper, L. Gordon, Jr. (06 March 1927–04 October 2004), test pilot and astronaut, was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the only child of Leroy Gordon Cooper, Sr., and Hattie Lee Herd. Young Gordon developed a taste for flying at age five when his father, an early military aviator, started taking his son for airplane rides and occasionally giving him the controls. Growing up among his father's aviator associates, and completing his first solo flight at age twelve, the young man whom friends called "Gordo" assumed that flying was a natural part of being human....

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Glenn, John (18 July 1921–8 Dec. 2016), aviator, astronaut, and United States Senator, was born John Herschel Glenn, Jr. in Cambridge, Ohio, the son of John Herschel Glenn, Sr. and Clara Sproat Glenn. The couple subsequently adopted a daughter, Jean. The family moved to New Concord, Ohio shortly after John’s birth where the father established a local plumbing company. Glenn attended local schools, graduating from New Concord High School in ...

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