‘if we die, we want people to accept it. We are 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.’
— Astronaut Gus Grissom, 1965
The launch of the Gemini 3 was the first manned mission of the Gemini programme, the second American manned space program. Here we saw the launch of the Gemini 3 mission on March 23, 1965, the spacecraft, nicknamed Molly Brown, performed the seventh manned US spaceflight, and the 17th manned spaceflight overall. The crew comprised of the second American to enter space, Virgil I. Grissom accompanied by astronaut John Young. This was his first flight into space. Image Courtesy of NASA.
A great picture of four of the original Mercury 7 astronauts during the training for Alan Shepards first American manned space flight. From left to right: Donald ‘Deke’ Slayton, Alan Shepard, John Glen and Virgil I. Grissom. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Astronauts Virgil I. Grissom and John Young during training for the forthcoming Gemini 3 mission. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Liberty Bell 7 on display at Spring Mill Museum. At the end of Virgil Grissom’s first space flight in 1962, his capsule sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean during his recovering after his 15 minute sub-orbital flight. Grissom nearly drowned during the recovery due to the downdraft of the recovery helicopter which was trying to retrieve ‘Liberty 7’. This vehicle was recovered 30 years in July 1999 and later and subsequently put on display. This flight made Virgil Grissom the second American to enter space. This spacecraft is now on permanent display at the Mercury Capsule Liberty Seven at Kansas Cosmosphere Mercury Capsule Liberty Seven is now permanently at the Kansas Cosmosphere. Image Courtesy of Kansas Cosmophere.
Virgil Grissom watching preparations for his Mercury Redstone 4 Mission at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, July 1961. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Virgil I. Grissom during training for the ill-fated Apollo 1 Mission in which both him and his fellow astronauts, Edward H. White and Roger Chaffee lost their lives during a simulated countdown test at Launch Complex 34, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in January 1967. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Virgil I. Grissom in his Gemini 3 spacesuit. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Astronauts Virgil I. Grissom and John Young during training for the first manned spaceflight of the Gemini spacecraft. Here we see them training for their upcoming Gemini 3 spaceflight. This mission will be the first flight of the new two man Gemini space vehicle on March 23, 1965. The craft was unofficially named ‘The Molly Brown’ which was a reference to the well known actress Molly Brown who was one of the survivors of ‘Titanic’. Because at the time of the loss of the Titanic and her surviving the sinking of the vessel, she became known in later lit as ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’. Of course this was a direct reference to the loss of Gus Grissom’s ‘ ‘Liberty Bell 7’ space vehicle during its recovery upon his first spaceflight in July 1961. The naming of this Gemini Spacecraft ‘Molly Brown’ was not liked in general by NASA. After this mission NASA stated that all further manned space vehicles will only be known by the mission name. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Official NASA portrait of Virgil I. Grissom. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Astronaut Virgil I. Grissom preparing to enter his Mercury space capsule ‘Liberty Bell 7’. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Apollo 1 crew during training. Here we see them about to enter their spaceflight mission simulator. From the top: Astronauts Roger Chaffee, Edward H. White and finally Virgil I. Grissom the commander of this mission. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Virgil I. Grissom inspecting his Apollo 1 space vehicle along with technician. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Virgil I Grissom and John Young inside their Gemini 3 space vehicle during training for their up and coming space flight. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Here we see all of the Mercury 7 astronauts together, posing in front of an American Air Force aircraft. From left to right they are : Malcolm ‘Scott’ Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Virgil I. Grissom, Walter ‘Wally’ Schirra, Alan B. Shepard and Donald ‘Deke’ Slayton. Except for Donald Slayton all them would all become the first Americans to fly in Space. Walter Schirra would have the distinction of being the only member of this group to fly in all three of the first American manned space programmes – Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. Alan B. Shepard would be the only member of this exclusive band of top test pilots to walk on The Moon, during the Apollo 14 mission. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Today – January 31st 2014 – NASA officially remembers those astronauts who lost there lives whilst engaged in the pursuit of human space exploration.
NASA Centers throughout the United States will be marking this occasion and there will be a wreath laying memorial attended by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington DC.
Continue reading NASA Day Of Remembrance