Original engine start button from Atlas launch vehicle No. 107-D used to send Carpenter’s Aurora 7 spacecraft into orbit for his MA-7 mission on May 24, 1962. The button is attractively encased in a block of Lucite presented on a wooden base, measuring an overall 4 x 9.5 x 4. Display bears plaques on all four sides, reading: “MA-7 Second Mercury Manned Orbital Flight, May 24, 1962,” “Engine Start Button from Atlas 107-D Launch, AMR Complex 14,” “National Aeraonautics and Space Administration, Cape Canaveral, Florida,” and “General Dynamics Astronautics.” Also bears a presentation plaque affixed to the front, “To Leo, with continuing gratitude from one of his boys, Scott Carpenter.” Some scattered marks to Lucite and presentation plaque slightly tarnished and crooked, otherwise fine condition. Carpenter originally gave this to Leo DeOrsey, his friend and a well-known attorney for the Mercury 7 astronauts. Originates from the personal collection of his son, Bob DeOrsey. Accompanied by a 1963 article from Parade magazine that mentions the button.
When Scott Carpenter made his successful Mercury-Atlas 7 flight, orbiting the Earth three times, he became just the sixth human to have entered space—and this was the button that began his historic liftoff at Cape Canaveral. His thoughtful presentation of this button to DeOrsey speaks volumes about their friendship, which began in 1959 when DeOrsey was hired to represent the Mercury 7 astronauts—lifelong friendships developed quickly, and DeOrsey even referred to the astronauts as ‘my kids.’ Lending further credence to the already impeccable provenance, DeOrsey published an article in Parade magazine on June 2, 1963, requesting that the public give the spacemen more privacy. In the article, he includes this button in list of mementos he had received: “Shepard gave me the clock from his first space ship, Carpenter the button that pushed him off, Glenn a pin which he carried in his pants leg on his historic flight.” RR Auction COA.
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