He blamed Carpenter's poor performance for the mission's issues, claiming that the astronaut had ignored repeated warnings to save fuel and check his guiding instrumentation. And, as he recounted in his memoirs in 2001, Kraft signed a promise that Carpenter would never go in space again.
But Carpenter was still interested in exploring space. He just wanted to do it with someone else. And when NASA opened up its next crewed mission, they chose him.
Carpenter died on October 25, 1999 at the age of 62 after suffering from emphysema.
One month before his death, he appeared in a television movie called "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong". In this film, which was based on David Brown's book "Space Shuttle: The Complete Story", Carpenter played himself. He also provided audio recordings of his voice for the film.
Carpenter was married twice. His first marriage ended in divorce. He later married Joan Barret. They had one son together named Matthew Carpenter who now works for NASA as a program analyst.
In 2001, NASA announced the selection of seven astronauts who will be part of the first new generation of spacecraft to fly since the Apollo program ended in 1972. One of them is Matthew Carpenter. He is the son of Scott Carpenter and will be the first space tourist.
The root of the problem was a malfunction in the space capsule's pitch horizon sensor, which regulated the angle of alignment. In his biography, Chris Kraft, the flight director, stated that Carpenter was to blame: "I vowed an oath that Scott Carpenter would never again fly in space." The incident resulted in significant changes to the training program for NASA astronauts.
Carpenter had been flying on NASA planes since 1951, when he joined the agency's Test Pilot School in McClellan, California. He was selected as one of two pilots for Project Mercury in May 1959, at the age of 33. The other pilot was Alan Shepard.
Shepard flew his first mission into space on 10 May 1961, while Carpenter followed him three days later. On their second mission, Carpenter became the first person to orbit the Earth twice. He returned home on 12 June, just four days after Shepard went back into space.
For his part in this incident, John Glenn described Carpenter as "a very competent pilot" but also said that there were fundamental problems with his personality that made working with him difficult. Carpenter responded by filing a $1 million lawsuit against the government for personal damages he suffered as a result of the incident. However, an administrative court ruled in favor of the government, and he dropped the case. He did not fly again until 1963, by which time Project Mercury had been terminated.
Carpenter performed only one mission, a three-orbit Mercury voyage on May 24, 1962. And the legacy that has endured is that of an astronaut disregarding orders, jeopardizing the mission—and his own life.
During Mercury missions, astronauts were given two hours to explore the planet. After returning from their first orbit, Carpenter and Cooper remained in orbit for another hour and 40 minutes before NASA officials ordered them home. The reason for this extended stay was that scientists wanted to study how the human body responded to weightlessness. This information would be useful when planning future Mars missions.
When NASA decided to extend the mission, they gave the command to "shut down all systems". In other words, don't come back. But Carpenter disobeyed the order and stayed in orbit until he ran out of fuel. The shuttle had been designed with safety as its number one priority, but Carpenter showed that humans will do anything to win or lose at a game they love. He put himself at risk to save others. Such selfless courage is what makes people legendary — even if it means they never flew again.