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Sigma 7 Recovery (1962)

KPRC-TV

Silent | 1962

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  •  Pararescue swimmers drop from a helicopter to help Schirra exit the floating spacecraft. Schirra radioed his preference to be towed to the nearby USS Kearsarge instead.  
  •  Hoisting Sigma 7 aboard the USS Kearsarge 
  •  Bringing the capsule on deck 
  •  Five minutes after coming aboard, Schirra blew Sigma’s explosive hatch to exit the capsule 
  •  NASA officials help Schirra out of his spacesuit before doctors perform a medical exam 
 
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Distributed by the Manned Spacecraft Center Public Affairs Office, this footage documents the reentry and recovery of Sigma 7, the Mercury-Atlas 8 spacecraft, on October 3, 1962. Launched earlier that day, Mercury-Atlas 8 was NASA’s third orbital mission. Pilot Wally Schirra orbited the Earth six times, confirming the durability of the Mercury capsule. Sigma 7 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean just 4.5 miles from the target point. The USS Kearsarge, a Navy aircraft carrier, hoisted the capsule on deck 40 minutes later. Schirra remained aboard the carrier for three days for mission debriefing and medical testing.