Mercury Monument Pad 14 Cape Canaveral Gus Grissom- One of “The Seven” Wallace E. Finn The History of Spaceflight and Space Technology EDCI-580
Content • Brief biography. • NASA missions • Lesson’s learned from Apollo I. • Interesting facts. • Gus’s Vette! • Bibliography
Biography • Gus was born on April 3, 1926 in Mitchell Indiana. • He had two brothers and a sister. • His father was a signalman for the railroad. • He spent time at a local airport and paid a local attorney $1 a week to learn the basics of flying.
Military Background • Entered the Army as an aviation cadet in 1944. • Reenlisted in the Air force in 1950 and flew 100 missions in the Korean war. • Received his wings in 1951. • Became a test pilot in 1956. • Selected as one of the Original 7 astronauts April 9, 1959. F-86 Like Gus Flew in Korea
Project Mercury The “Seven” Front left to right “Wally” Shirra, “Deke” Slayton, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter Back left to right: Alan Shepherd, “Gus” Grissom, Gordon Cooper
NASA Missions:Mercury-Redstone 4 • July 21, 1961 suborbital flight in “Liberty Bell 7” making Gus the second American in space. • When Liberty Bell hit the water the hatch unexpectedly blew and the craft sank in 15,000 feet of water. • The press and NASA were critical of Gus for losing the Liberty Bell even though it was never proven that he intentionally blew the hatch. • Liberty Bell was recovered in 1999.
Gemini 3 • March 23, 1965. • First manned mission of program! • Ship named the unsinkable “Molly Brown”. • NASA officials thought the name lacked dignity but gave approval when informed his second choice was “Titanic”. • This was the last time an astronaut was allowed to name his own ship!
Gemini 3 Continued John said Gus would probably complain for not having mustard on the sandwich! • First time a capsule had been maneuvered in space while using substantial thrusters! • John Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich on board. He handed it to Gus who ate some of it but put it away when crumbs started floating around. • NASA was not happy about the astronauts contraband lunch and rewrote the rules for future flights.
Apollo/Saturn 204 • Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee prepared to conduct a launch simulation test for their upcoming Saturn IB flight. • Gus was frustrated with the problems the capsule was experiencing. So he hung a lemon on it! • During the simulation there was a delay due to a problem with communication.
Fire! • Around 6:31 p.m. Roger Chaffee cried out “Hey!”. After a scuffling sound someone called out “We’ve got a fire in the cockpit.” • A spark in an electrical wire caused the flammable materials to create an inferno. • The astronauts died from the inhalation of the poisonous fumes.
“If we die, we want people to accept it. We're in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life."-Gus Grissom (John Barbour et al., Footprints on the Moon (The Associated Press, 1969), p. 125.) (Space Mirror Memorial dedicated to all 24 astronauts who have been killed since the space program began)
Changes to Apollo Spacecraft as a Result of the Fire • Environment was changed to be 60% oxygen and 40% nitrogen instead of 100% oxygen. • Cabin materials and astronauts space suits were made out of inflammable materials. • A new hatch that opened outward within 10 seconds.
Interesting Facts • If the accident had occurred in space, no one would ever have learned why it happened. This would probably have ended the program. • If not killed, Gus Grissom would probably have been the commander of the first lunar mission. • At the request of Gus’s wife AS 204 was renamed “Apollo I”.
Gus’s ’67 Vette Originally Blue. He raced and usually beat Alan Shepherd with this car which had racing tires and special gearing in the differential.
Summary • Gus was one of the first seven astronauts. • His effort in Mercury and Gemini were stepping stones for the mission to the moon. • The tragedy of Apollo I probably saved the entire space program by providing scientists and engineers a chance to redesign the spacecraft.
Bibliography • Gerard, James. “Mercury Monument” Photo. 11 Mar. 2010 <http://web.mac.com/jimgerard/AFGAS/pages/misc/mercmem.html> • “Liberty Bell 7.” Photo <3/17/10http://en.wikipedia/Gus.Grissom> • McNamara Bernard. Into the Final Frontier: the Human Exploration of Space. Philadelphia:Harcourt, 2001
Bibliography (Cont.) • NASA “Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee.” Photo. 13 Mar. 2010 <http://www.mindspring.com/~bcastro/apollo_one/main.html> • O’Neil, Ian. “The Case of the Contraband Corned Beef Sandwich.” Discovery News 16 Feb. 2010 Discovery News 13 Mar. 2010 <http://newsdiscovery.com/space/the-case-of -the-contraband-corned-beef-sandwich.html>
Bibliography (Cont.) • White, Mary C. NASA HistoryDetailed Biographies of Apollo I Crew-Gus Grissom <http://history.nasa.gov/Apollo204/zorn/grissom.html>