On July 21, 1961, NASA astronaut Gus Grissom completed the second successful human spaceflight mission for the United States of America.
Grissom’s suborbital flight in the Liberty Bell 7 capsule lasted 15 minutes and 30 seconds and reached an altitude of 103 nautical miles.
Mercury Redstone 4: Photos from Gus Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 Spaceflight
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Everything went according to plan until just after Grissom splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean. While Grissom was waiting on the recovery crew to come get him, the hatch cover on Liberty Bell 7 unexpectedly blew open and water started pouring into the capsule.
Grissom barely made it out alive, but Liberty Bell 7 sank into the ocean. In 1999, an expedition successfully recovered the Liberty Bell 7 from the ocean floor so it could be restored and displayed in museums.
- Space History Photo: Gus Grissom Onboard the USS Randolph
- The Mercury 7 Astronauts: NASA’s First Space Travelers
- Most Extreme Human Spaceflight Records
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Email Hanneke Weitering at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.
SPACE.COM EDITOR — Hanneke joined the team at Space.com in August 2016 as a staff writer and producer. She has previously written for Scholastic, MedPage Today and Oak Ridge National Lab. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her home town of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. She is currently based in Seattle, home of the Space Needle.
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