"WITH GREAT RESPECT AND BEST WISHES, SCOTT CARPENTER": EXTRAORDINARY PROJECT MERCURY ARCHIVE, INCLUDING THE ORIGINAL FIVE-VOLUME NASA REPORT ON THE ISSUE, INSCRIBED BY SCOTT CARPENTER; A FIRST EDITION OF CARPENTER AND STOEVER'S FOR SPACIOUS SKIES; AND EPHEMERA INCLUDING SCOTT CARPENTER'S BUSINESS CARD AND A MERCURY 7 COMMEMORATIVE COIN
CARPENTER, Scott. Project Mercury archive, including an inscribed copy of the NASA Mercury space flight report. Washington: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, [1962-63]; New York, Harcourt, 2002. Five-volume report on the Mercury space flight in original pictorial paper wrappers, inscribed by Scott Carpenter; first edition of Scott Carpenter and Kris Stoever's For Spacious Skies in original blue and white paper boards and original dust jacket; and ephemera. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell box. $4400.
First edition of this fascination Project Mercury archive centered around astronaut Scott Carpenter, with the five-volume NASA report on the mission (including the Chronology volume), a first edition of Carpenter's autobiography, and various Scott Carpenter ephemera, inscribed on the Volume II title page of the report to the compiler of this archive, a prominent jazz musician and space program enthusiast: "For Bob Greene—With Great Respect and best wishes, Scott Carpenter."
"The United States first sent humans into space during six flights of Project Mercury from May 1961 to May 1963. These flights were brief, with durations ranging from about 15 min to just over 34 h" (Carpentier, et al., npj Microgravity). "Carpenter was one of Project Mercury's seven selected pilots introduced to the nation's press on 9 April 1959. Carpenter's intellectual curiosity drew him to the program, but he also admitted 'this was a chance for immortality' (We Seven, 60). His responsibility was navigation and communication for Mercury. Carpenter was an early advocate of giving astronauts more control over their spacecraft, instead of leaving it to computers and mission control. He helped design a neutral buoyancy tank that trained astronauts underwater for the weightlessness of space. Carpenter was the backup for John Glenn's first orbital flight and was memorably heard saying, 'Godspeed, John Glenn' at launch. Carpenter took over the second orbital flight when Deke Slayton was grounded by an irregular heart rate. On 24 May 1962, 40 million Americans watched the launch of Aurora 7 on an Atlas rocket. Carpenter found that his fear focused his mind. Carpenter's four-hour-and-56-minute flight reached an altitude of 164 miles during its three-orbit mission. He was elated by the weightlessness of space and had no sensation of speed even while traveling at 17,532 miles an hour. His 60 photographs of the Earth from space had him 'look a thousand miles in each direction, and everywhere I looked was filled with beauty' (We Seven, p. 451)… The best part of being a space pioneer, Carpenter believed, was realizing the vision that had created the space program. Going to the moon demonstrated 'men can do about anything they want to if they work hard enough at it' (30 Mar. 1998). He was certain it would one day mean humans would go to Mars" (ANB).
The core of this archive is the five-volume NASA report on Project Mercury, comprising: Results of the First U.S. Manned Orbital Space Flight. February 20,1962; Results of the Second U.S. Manned Orbital Space Flight. May 24, 1962 [this volume inscribed by Scott Carpenter]; Results of the Third U.S. Manned Orbital Space Flight. October 3, 1962; Mercury Project Summary Including Results of the Fourth Manned Orbital Flight, May 15 and 16, 1963; and James Grimwood's Project Mercury: A Chronology. Also included in a first edition of Scott Carpenter's autobiography, For Spacious Skies (2002), co-written with his daughter, Kris Stoever. This archive also features interesting ephemera: an invitation to the 50th anniversary celebration of Scott Carpenter's earth orbital flight; a promotional handbill for the event; a commemorative coin for the Mercury-Atlas 7/Aurora flight; and Scott Carpenter's business card with his wife's number added by hand. This collection was compiled by jazz musician Robert S. Greene, an avid follower of the space program. Greene's owner signature on the title page of Volume I.
Report near-fine, generally with interiors fine and only light wear and toning to extremities. Book very nearly fine, with small spot to front panel of dust jacket. A wonderful and handsome archive.