Scott Carpenter was selected as one of the original seven Mercury astronauts on 9 April 1959. He underwent intensive training with NASA specialising in communication and navigation and served as backup pilot for John Glenn during the preparation for the US agency’s first manned orbital space flight in February 1962.

Carpenter eventually flew the second US manned orbital flight on 24 May 1962 in his Aurora 7 spacecraft through three revolutions of the earth, reaching a maximum altitude of 264km (164 miles). The spacecraft landed in the Atlantic ocean about 1600km southeast of Cape Canaveral after 4h and 54min of flight time.

After his time as a Mercury astronaut Carpenter became executive assistant to the manned space flight center director and was active in the design of the Apollo lunar module.

Carpenter spoke exclusively to Flight at the Autographica event in London on 12 October. See the interview video with him below and watch Flightglobal's other exclusive video interviews with Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan, Apollo 12 lunar module pilot Al Bean and Apollo 15 command module pilot Al Worden.