Nation: The Angry Astronaut

While officials squabbled 'about the trip to the moon, the least known of the astronauts was tapped for what may be the last flight of Project Mercury. Next April Air Force Captain Leroy Gordon ("Gordo") Cooper, 35, is scheduled to make an all-day, 18-orbit trip.

Cooper nearly lost his chance to go into orbit when he became enraged at the decision last year to ground Astronaut Donald K. ("Deke") Slayton because of a reported heart flutter. Cooper offended high NASA officials by vehemently protesting the decision, threatened to quit if Slayton were not reinstated....

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