View Full Version : Astronaut Walter Schirra, 1923-2007

2007-May-03, 05:50 PM
NASA announced today that veteran astronaut Walter M. "Wally" Schirra has passed away at the age of 84. His family said that he died of natural causes on Wednesday at a hospital in La Jolla, California. ...

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2007/05/03/astronaut-walter-schirra-1923-2007/)

2007-May-04, 06:33 PM
Let each of us have a private moment of silence and prayer for the passing of another of our truly GREAT American Heroes!
Rest In Peace, Wally!

2007-Jun-07, 01:52 AM
...good bye...

2007-Jun-12, 02:23 PM
Part 1:

Six months before I joined the Baha’i Faith, the then U.S. Navy test pilot, Walter M. Schirra, was named by NASA as one of the seven Mercury Astronauts. It was April 1959. Three and a half years later, On October 3 1962, a month after my pioneering life began in the Canadian Baha’i community, Shirra piloted the six orbit Sigma 7 Mercury flight, a flight which lasted 9 hours, 15 minutes. The spacecraft attained a velocity of 17,557 miles per hour at an altitude of 175 statute miles and travelled almost 144,000 statute miles before re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Recovery of the Sigma 7 spacecraft occurred in the Pacific Ocean about 275 miles northeast of Midway Island.

Shirra died yesterday. I received the news while watching television here in Australia at the mid-point in my day of writing and reading. I usually take a break for lunch in the early afternoon about 1 or 2 p.m., watch/listen to some news and get back to the work. As I listened to the report I felt a kinship with Shirra even though he was twenty-two years my senior, had at least three honorary doctorates, a number of major awards, had been inducted into several halls of fame and had business and civic experience that was, to say the least, impressive. I was not in his league. But, still, I felt this kinship with the man and when I heard he had died, it was a cause for reflection. No tears were shed. I had no desire to meet him, talk to him on the phone, write the biography of his life, meet any of his family or indeed excavate in the inner motivations and or the outward experience of this pioneering astronaut.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 4 May 2007.

Part 2:

You were from Hackensack(1)
and I was from Hamilton, but
what a high-flier you were, Walter!

One of aviation’s Hall of Famers
in your Sigma 7 back in ’62, in ’65
in that Gemini 6 or that first manned
test of an Apollo spacecraft in ’68
for the moon landing-reaching for
the skies! And they say you were
quite the entertainer, Walter!(2)

And me, Wally, just one of those
ordinarily ordinary boys from one
of a 1000 towns across this land.

The first to rendezvous in space,
you were--and it was not over,
you said, until you had stopped,
with no relative motion between(3)
the two vehicles.....and I always
wondered what a rendezvous of
my soul with its Source of light
was exactly, Wally, well, you’ve
given me a hint to what it means.

I wish you well, Walter, in that
Undiscovered Country, as the poet
Shelley called it--from which no man
returns--or so I believe--take care...

(1) Shirra was born in this New Jersey town on 12 March 1923.
(2) “Levity is appropriate in a dangerous trade,” Shirra said to Life magazine
(3) Wikipedia, “Walter M. Shirra,” 4 May 2007

Ron Price
5/5/'07 to 25/12/'14.