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Gordon Cooper

Biography:

Astronaut Gordon Cooper once set a space endurance record by traveling more than 3.3 million miles aboard Gemini 5 in 1965.An Oklahoma native who entered the Marine Corps after graduating from high school in 1945, he later became an elite Air Force test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in California.By April 1959, Cooper was named as one of the Project Mercury astronauts, following grueling physical and mental tests each candidate had to endure.On May 15 and 16, 1963, Cooper piloted the Faith 7 spacecraft on a 22-orbit mission that concluded the operational phase of Project Mercury.

In addition to his space flights, Cooper logged more than 7,000 hours flying time in jets and commercial aircraft. He retired from the Air Force and NASA in 1970 with the rank of colonel.After leaving NASA, Cooper served on the boards of directors as a technical consultant to a number of companies in the aerospace, electronics and energy fields. He also was the vice president for research and development for Walter E. Disney Enterprises Inc., from 1974-1980.

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