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on the Human Exploration of Space
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VIRGIL I. ‘GUS’ GRISSOM
Group 1 (1959)
Gus Grissom was amongst America’s first seven astronauts chosen by NASA in April 1959. As one of three astronauts chosen for the first American sub-orbital spaceflights he became the second American and third person to fly into space on 21 July 1961 as Pilot of Mercury-Redstone 4, also known as Liberty-Bell 7, and the second sub-orbital mission. It was during the ocean recovery phase, when the spacecraft hatch prematurely blew that he almost drowned as sea water flooded into the spacecraft before he was ready to exit. Though he was safely recovered his spacecraft unfortunately sank, and it was 38 years before it was salvaged from the ocean bed. Then on 23 March 1965 Grissom commanded Gemini 3, the first flight in the series, but was tragically killed on 27 January 1967 along with fellow crew-members Ed White and Roger Chaffee in the Apollo AS-204, Apollo 1 flash fire at Cape Kennedy.
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