Dr William Carpentier WFP - Lake Cowichan, BC
N 48° 49.567 W 124° 03.104
10U E 422806 N 5408659
Dr William Carpentier WFP, Physician to the Astronauts on Apollo 11
Waymark Code: WM38AK
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 02/24/2008
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member csm014
Views: 50

William R Carpentier grew up in the small town of Lake Cowichan BC. He would start his post secondary education at the University of Victoria taking Physics with the plan to become an engineer. After 2 years he found himself developing a dislike for physics. His sister, a nurse, showed him around a hospital and he decides that a career in medicine was the way to go. He initially studied in the field of Psychiatry and completed 4 years but again he lost interest with his studies. Along the way he had acquired his private pilot’s license and this developed an interest in aviation medicine. He moved to the US in 1961 and attends Ohio State University where he would complete 2 years of residency at the Ohio State University Hospital in aviation medicine. His plan was to return to Canada and do research there but he found out that NASA was looking for 3 year-residents to train in operational space medicine. In January 1965 he arrived at NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center (Now the Johnson Space Center) to start his 8 year stay. He would be involved with the Gemini program and was the doctor on the helicopters that picked the astronauts up from Gemini missions 5, 6, and 7. He would transfer to the Apollo program when it started and was instrumental in the continuation of the gathering of medical information on the astronauts before and after their missions. There had been pressure to cut back these tests but Dr Carpentier truly felt that this would be a mistake. He stood his ground and after convincing the commander of the Apollo 7 mission, Wally Schirra, that these test would help in the long term knowledge base for space travel, he got the information he needed. That mission would set the medical test standard that all Apollo missions would follow.

Apollo 11 was his favorite mission and it presented some unique challenges with regards to completing his tests while in quarantine when they came back from the moon. It was also where he picked up the title, WFP. After the astronauts had returned to earth and met their obligations with NASA, they went on a 45 day tour of the world with their wives. Dr Carpentier had to accompany them as it was still unknown if any long term effects would present themselves after a trip to the moon and back. There were a couple of times when he was forced to stand in for the astronauts at functions and that’s when Neil Armstrong gave him the title WFP (World Famous Physician) He left NASA in 1973 to study Nuclear Medicine at the Scott and White Clinic in Temple, Texas. He has remained there for 30 years. He has always kept in contact with NASA and is once again doing studies for them on the long term protection from radiation exposure along with bone mineral loss during manned flight to Mars.

As the Doctor himself has noted, "That was an incredible thing to happen to a kid from a logging camp town in the middle of Vancouver Island"

Much of the information for this waymark came from and article at the Canadian Space Agency web site: Canadian Space Medicine Pioneers: Dr William Carpentier, World Famous Physician by Lydia Dotto. It is a very interesting read and worth checking out. (HnGB4)


Fee (if no fee, enter 'none'): None

Amount of time an average person would spend here: Less than an hour

Location is wheelchair accessible?: No

How Long a Hike: Not listed

Accessible?: Not Listed

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The A-Team visited Dr William Carpentier WFP - Lake Cowichan, BC 11/21/2013 The A-Team visited it
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The_Draglings visited Dr William Carpentier WFP - Lake Cowichan, BC 05/31/2008 The_Draglings visited it
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