The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

October 12, 2013

Pedas recalls ‘space cowboy’ friend

FARRELL — Scott Carpenter was more than an iconic astronaut to Farrell astronomer and educational cruise impresario Ted Pedas.

Pedas counted Carpenter as a close friend for more than four decades.

“He would say to me, ‘You’re a teacher in the best sense of the word,’ ” Pedas remembered Friday, the day after Carpenter died in a Denver hospice of complications from a stroke.

The 88-year-old Carpenter told Pedas that when he was growing up he dreamed of being a cowboy.

As one of the original Mercury 6 astronauts who had the “Right Stuff” to tackle President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to make it to the moon during the 1960s, Carpenter fulfilled that dream, Pedas said.

“In a way, he was a modern cowboy,” Pedas said.

A space cowboy, as some might say, and later a sea cowboy, exploring the wonders of the deep.

Carpenter followed John Glenn into orbit, and it was Carpenter who gave him the historic sendoff, “Godspeed John Glenn.”

The two were the last survivors of the famed original Mercury 7 astronauts. Glenn is the only one left alive.

In his only flight, Carpenter missed his landing by 288 miles, leaving a nation on edge for an hour as it watched live and putting Carpenter on the outs with his NASA bosses. So Carpenter found a new place to explore: the ocean floor.

He was the only person who was both an astronaut and an aquanaut, exploring the old ocean and what President Kennedy called “the new ocean” – space.

“He believed so strongly in President Kennedy,” Pedas remembered, and he answered Kennedy’s call to action to explore the wonders of the final frontier, space.

Life was an adventure for Carpenter and he said it should be for others: “Every child has got to seek his own destiny. All I can say is that I have had a great time seeking my own.”

The launch into space was nerve-racking for the Navy pilot on the morning of May 24, 1962.

“You’re looking out at a totally black sky, seeing an altimeter reading of 90,000 feet and realize you are going straight up. And the thought crossed my mind: What am I doing?” Carpenter said 49 years later in a joint lecture with Glenn at the Smithsonian Institution.

For Carpenter, the momentary fear was worth it, he said in 2011: “The view of Mother Earth and the weightlessness is an addictive combination of senses.”

The heights to which Carpenter rose didn’t effect his ego, Pedas said.

“He was very, very, very humble,” Pedas said, remembering that Carpenter was the only scientist or celebrity who said “yes” to Pedas’ effort in July 1972 to put on an educational cruise on the Atlantic during that year’s total eclipse of the sun.

Over the subsequent decades, Carpenter took part in 32 of Pedas’ cruises.

He was one of the few dignitaries who cruised with Pedas who wasn’t “selling something” like a book and he never charged for autographs, Pedas said.

“He said the American taxpayers paid my way all my life and I owe it to them,” Pedas said.

Pedas remembered Carpenter’s relentless curiosity to discover how things worked.

“He was a very unique person,” Pedas said.

Carpenter once joked there was more technology in a modern wristwatch than there was on the Aurora 7 space capsule he piloted.

They had to manually wind the clock on that spaceship, Carpenter told Pedas.

He was the most physically fit, but the least educated of the original astronauts, Pedas said.

But Carpenter had “enormous discipline,” Pedas said.

His passing marks the end of an era, Pedas said.

“They won’t see the likes of these kinds of people again,” Pedas said of the Mercury 7 astronauts.

“Under very trying conditions, they set the standards,” Pedas said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • News briefs from April 24, 2014

    April 24, 2014

  • Bus cameras will be listening, too

    Hermitage School District is taking advantage of a recently enacted exemption to the state’s wiretap law in allowing officials to turn on the audio recording capability on school bus and vehicle video cameras.

    April 24, 2014

  • Union, city OK 4-year contract

    Hermitage’s nonuniformed employees have a new four-year contract that gives them average pay hikes of 2.5 percent a year and the opportunity to live outside the city limits, while allowing administrators more flexibility in scheduling.

    April 24, 2014

  • 2 principals to be hired

    Sharpsville Area school directors needed a shove to make a decision but the board voted Tuesday to interview candidates and hire two principals for 2014-15.

    April 24, 2014

  • Prison term upheld for sex offender

    A sex offender challenging a 4- to 8-year prison sentence for a probation violation lost an appeal of that sentence.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man, 24, must register as sex offender for life

    The Ohio man who exposed himself to Sharon girls on their way to school last fall must register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life when he gets out of jail.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man deemed predator – for now

    A former Sharon man was sent to the state prison system Tuesday for corrupting the morals of a teenage girl, but the question of whether his penalties under Megan’s Law will stand could be subject to future legal proceedings.

    April 23, 2014

  • Not even waste will be wasted

    Tom Darby admits he wishes the startup of the anaerobic digestion process at the Hermitage Water Pollution Control Plant had moved along much faster.

    April 23, 2014

  • 3rd Earth Fest draws families to Penn State

    Penn State Shenango’s Earth Fest has become a spring tradition for area residents.
    Families poured into downtown Sharon for the campus’ third annual sustainability celebration.

    April 22, 2014

  • Amish clean Shenango River Volunteers protect Shenango River

    Shenango River Watchers has spent more than a decade working to clean up the Shenango and improve recreational access to its water and banks.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • For many, recycling’s become way of life

    When Pennsylvania mandated curbside recycling for its larger municipalities in 1998 – those with more than 5,000 people – there was grumbling about government interference in the lives of everyday people.

    April 22, 2014

  • Many items can’t be thrown away

    The computer screen in front of you isn’t likely to do you much harm, at least not until it’s tossed in a landfill where the lead-filled components start to leak and eventually find their way into your drinking water, according to Jerry Zona, director of the Lawrence-Mercer County Recycling/Solid Waste department.

    April 22, 2014

  • David Sykes' solar panels Earthworks

    While touring Germany last year, David Sykes spotted solar panels resting in a residential back yard.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burned using Icy Hot, woman claims

    A Grove City woman has sued Chattem Inc. and Rite Aid of Pennsylvania Inc., alleging she suffered a second-degree chemical burn using one of Chattem’s Icy Hot pain relief products.

    April 21, 2014

  • Family outing Family friendly

    “We’re No. 5’’ isn’t a sports cheer you’ll hear any time soon.
    But considering the lumps the greater area has gotten over the years on economic rankings, it’s an outright victory.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
AP Video
Sharonheraldnewspaper Facebook Page