From the archive: The infamous (and poignant) landing of Grisom Ocean turns 60 this week. Gus Grisom was a newcomer to the history books. Just 10 weeks after Alan Shepard made America's first manned spaceflight, Grisom followed a second flight, a 15-minute underground leap, to 189 kilometers above the blue planet. After placing the Mercury capsule's small parachutes, Grisom sank in the Atlantic, completing a seemingly flawless mission. p>
It just wasn't perfect and it didn't shut down. At that moment, Gus Grissom almost drowned.Read more Cold War mystery: Why did Jimmy Carter save the space shuttle? July 21, 1961, was the end of the second Mercury mission, and the Grissom spacecraft's orbit exploded. The ocean overflowed. The astronaut responded by jumping off the Liberty Bell 7 capsule. He struggled for five minutes to stay afloat in the waves, even his spacesuit, currently weighing 22 pounds, filled with water.
This incident went down in history amid controversy. Some of his translations, including the popular novel The Right Stuff and the Tom Wolf movie, show Grisom as "crooked." Such accounts argue that the astronaut panics before his time comes and fires his hatch, essentially inviting water into it. But a new book by George Leopold on Grisom Life — Calculated Risk: The Ultrasonic Life and Times of Gus Grisom — and a recent interview with the Director of Mercury Recovery Options at NASA, Bob Thompson, tell the story. From these thoughtful accounts, Grisom emerges as a quick-witted hero. His reaction was mysteriously decisive, or else the mission would have ended in death. Such an incident could have stopped President Kennedy early on in NASA's space program for ambitions to land on the country's new moon, at a time when the United States was lagging behind the Soviet Union.
After more than half a century, Grisom's name fades from memory. Shepard is proud of the first American spaceflight, John Glenn made the first orbital flight, and Neil Armstrong went on the moon. However, after a very short act that ended unpleasantly in the 1967 Apollo 1 fire, Grisom deserves credit not as an unlucky bottom note but as a true hero. And for today's astronauts, the Grissom near-death experience in the Atlantic Ocean takes on new meaning and provides a vivid reminder of the peril of the sea as NASA plans to return the Orion capsule from deep space across the ocean. “The water is a great place to land, but it is a very infernal place after landing,” Thompson told Ares. “Let me tell you, you can hurt yourself in the ocean.” "I Didn't Do This"
Virgil Evan "Gus" Grissom was the second young man of seven NASA astronauts from Mercury announced to the world on April 9, 1959. They were all high-temperature pilots who decided to be the first humans to fly in the space. Among this group, Grisom stands out for his hard work (and serious party). In early 1961, he, Sheppard, and Glenn emerged as pioneers of the first dream ride. In the end All Americans lost to Yuri Gagarin, but Shepherd claimed American pride. Grisom served as a support pilot.
But the second US space mission was to Grisom. It pretty much repeats Mercury's first flight with two major changes - the Liberty Bell 7 capsule has a trapezoidal window, and a new blast valve allows Grysom to exit the spacecraft on its own. To detonate the valve, Grisom had to remove the cap from the trigger, pull the safety pin, and push the plunger down.
His trip was excellent. Since Grisom was the first American to see Earth directly from space, he was surprised by his home planet. "It was absolutely fantastic through the window," he said in his trip report. "It was a really amazing sight. The ground was very clear, the sky was black and the curvature of the earth was very prominent."
After landing in the water with a "gentle shake", Grisom was ready for the final stage of his mission. "I felt good at this point and started preparing to leave," he said. Before launching the hatch, Grissom had to wait for a rescue helicopter to fly, attach a lifting ring on top of the capsule, and then pull it out of the water. Once triggered, he must remove the helmet from the trigger, pull the safety pin, and activate the release mechanism. He can then step over the edge of the hatch, climb up to the horse's collar descending from the helicopter, and be carried there without ever getting wet.
Grisom did not wait for the helicopter to arrive and was not delivered. Capsule, when the spacecraft trembled in the four-legged seas, I removed the cover from the trigger and pulled the safety pin. He didn't depress the piston, which required five pounds to depress, but moments later, the valve blew anyway. "The detonator of the exploding piston is so unattainable that I had to hit it to hit it," Grisom wrote in We Seven (based on direct reports from Mercury astronauts). I did not do that. p>
Gus Grissom gave NASA a hard lesson: "You can hurt yourself in the ocean."
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