Faith 7: Gordon Cooper's 1963 Mercury-Atlas 9 Launch in Pictures

Recovery Operations


During the May 16, 1963 recovery of the Mercury Atlas 9 "Faith 7" capsule in the central Pacific Ocean, a U.S. Navy frogman team attaches a flotation collar to the spacecraft. Shortly after, the capsule with astronaut and pilot L. Gordon Cooper, Jr. still inside, was raised to the deck of the USS Kearnage.

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Aboard the USS Kearnage, the prime recovery vessel for the Mercury Atlas 9 spacecraft, the Faith 7 capsule is secured after its successful 22 orbits of Earth. Astronaut and pilot for the mission L. Gordon Cooper, Jr. is still inside.

All Smiles


After the successful splashdown and recovery of the Mercury Atlas 9 capsule by the USS Kearnage recovery crew, astronaut and pilot of the Faith 7, L. Gordon Cooper, Jr. smiles from his seat inside the capsule.

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

Christine Lunsford joined the team in 2010 as a freelance producer and later became a contributing writer, covering astrophotography images, astronomy photos and amazing space galleries and more. During her more than 10 years with, oversaw the site's monthly skywatching updates and produced overnight features and stories on the latest space discoveries. She enjoys learning about subjects of all kinds.