RIP Scott Carpenter

News has come in that Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter died today at the ripe age of 88. He was the only Mercury astronaut that I ever met in person. I had lunch with him more than a decade ago.

The lunch took place on Saturday, August 4, 2001 at the Kennedy Space Center. I was in Orlando for a conference and took the day on Saturday to visit the space center. They had this program to have lunch with an astronaut and I did it. I wasn’t the only one. I think there were a few dozen others. We had lunch in a conference center and while we ate, Scott Carpenter gave a talk. I wish I could remember what he talked about, but I don’t remember, and I didn’t record it in my diary.

He did chat with people individually afterward and I got to say a few words to him. I also got his autograph, which was pretty cool. (At that point in time, I also had John Glenn’s autograph, meaning I had more astronaut autographs than science fiction writers!) It was great to meet him in person, and I was sadden to see the news of his passing today.

Published by Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.