Leroy Gordon Cooper was an American astronaut who was born on March 6,
1927, in Oklahoma.
Before he became an astronaut, Cooper was an Air Force pilot.
Cooper became an astronaut in 1959. He was one of the original Mercury
astronauts. He has spent over 224 hours in space on 2 spaceflights.
Cooper piloted the last Mercury mission in 1963. He set an endurance
record on this mission by logging more time in space than all five
previous Mercury astronauts combined (34 hours). He was also the first
American astronaut to actually sleep in space!
In 1965, Cooper commanded Gemini 5. This mission was set to prove that
astronauts could survive in space for 8 days. This was the length of
time it took to reach the moon. Gemini 5 was the first spacecraft to
carry fuel cells. Fuel cells are generators of electricity that allow
spacecrafts to be powered for several days.
Cooper left NASA in 1970. He has since started his own company and
worked for the Walt Disney Corporation. He is currently the president of
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