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On this day: October 4

POSTED: 05:01 PM PDT Oct 03, 2012    UPDATED: 11:00 PM PDT Oct 03, 2013 

Work begins on Mount Rushmore, Sputnik is launched into space, the pope visits America for the first time, Janis Joplin is found dead of an overdose, all on this day.

OTD October 4 - Gordon Cooper
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NASA

2004: American astronaut Gordon Cooper, one of the seven original astronauts in Project Mercury, the first manned space program of the United States, dies of heart failure at age 77 in Ventura, Calif. Cooper piloted the longest and final Mercury spaceflight in 1963. He was the first American to sleep in space during that 34-hour mission and was the last American to be launched alone to conduct an entirely solo orbital mission. In 1965, he also flew as command pilot of Gemini 5.

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