USS Kearsarge (CV-33) - Service History - Project Mercury

Project Mercury

Upon completion of repairs and training, Kearsarge departed Long Beach, California on 1 August 1962 to station herself in the Western Range as a recovery ship in the Project Mercury orbital space flight of astronaut Walter Schirra after splashdown. On 3 October, after a flawless flight, the carrier played her role in the Space Age by retrieving Schirra and his space capsule, Sigma 7, and returning him to Honolulu for flight back to the States.

Kearsarge resumed training exercises, continuing these for six months before arriving Pearl Harbor on 29 April 1963 to once again take part in the space program. The carrier repeated her earlier splashdown recovery by plucking astronaut Gordon Cooper on 16 May 1963 after he orbited the Earth 22 times in his capsule Faith 7.

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