Lot #3039
Wally Schirra

Lengthy handwritten account of Mercury Atlas-8: "I proved that I could save fuel and run a tight mission"
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Estimate: $200+


Lengthy handwritten account of Mercury Atlas-8: "I proved that I could save fuel and run a tight mission"

ALS, one page, 8.5 x 11, personal letterhead, April 28, 2001. Lengthy letter describing his experience in the space program, in part: "I was assigned to the Space Task Group in April 1959 with six other test pilots to train and compete for the first Project Mercury flights into space. After four previous missions I was finally chosen for the MA-8 mission. Over three years had elapsed since joining Project Mercury, and I was anxious to start my mission. Many trips and meetings had transpired, and the technical sessions were so well done that I chose one name 'Sigma Seven' for my mission. Sigma representing the sum of engineering efforts and Seven for the seven Mercury astronauts. The mission duration was planned for six orbits after many meetings. The previous two orbital missions almost exhausted their attitude fuel supplies in three orbits. Liftoff as compared to 'blast off' was quite comfortable, My only concern was at about T+4 minutes when Deke Slayton, my capcom, asked, 'Are you a turtle?' The answer, 'you bet your sweet ass I am' did not meet my broadcast standards. I recorded the answer on 'voice record' for later review. Booster cut off was a great moment as zero 'G' is a fantastic transition. I elected to maneuver into retro attitude manually and saved a great amount of fuel. Often, I would let Sigma 7 drift in attitude and reestablish controlled attitude manually. Then turn on the automatic system to recalibrate and fly in 'chimp mode.' A term that did not endear me to the flight controllers but did save fuel. The views in flight were spectacular, but the most satisfying was the sight of the parachute prior to landing. I proved that I could save fuel and run a tight mission that in turn permitted a one day mission next." In fine condition.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Space
  • Dates: #607 - Ended April 22, 2021

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