Liberty Bell 7: The Suborbital Mercury Flight of Virgil "Gus" Grissom

Liberty Bell 7: The Suborbital Mercury Flight of Virgil "Gus" Grissom

Paperback Springer-Praxis Books in Space Exploration

By (author) Colin Burgess

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  • Publisher: Springer International Publishing AG
  • Format: Paperback | 275 pages
  • Dimensions: 165mm x 175mm x 25mm | 431g
  • Publication date: 19 March 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Cham
  • ISBN 10: 3319043900
  • ISBN 13: 9783319043906
  • Edition statement: 2014 ed.
  • Illustrations note: 191 black & white illustrations, biography
  • Sales rank: 766,579

Product description

NASA's Mercury astronauts were seven highly skilled professional test pilots. Each of them seemed to possess the strength of character and commitment necessary to overcome apparently insurmountable obstacles as the United States entered into a Cold War space race with the Soviet Union. This was never more evident than on the epic suborbital MR-4 flight of Liberty Bell 7 with astronaut Virgil ('Gus') Grissom piloting the spacecraft to a successful splashdown, followed by the premature blowing of the craft's explosive hatch. After a hurried exit and struggling to stay afloat, he could only watch helplessly as the recovery helicopter pilot valiantly fought a losing battle to save the sinking capsule. That day NASA not only lost a spacecraft but came perilously close to losing one of its Mercury astronauts, a decorated Korean fighter pilot from Indiana who might one day have soared to the highest goal of them all, as the first person to set foot on the Moon. For the first time, many of those closest to the flight of Liberty Bell 7 and astronaut Gus Grissom offer their stories and opinions on the dramatic events of July 21, 1961, and his later pioneering Gemini mission. They also tell of an often controversial life cut tragically and horrifically short in a launch pad fire that shocked the nation.

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Author information

Colin Burgess's first book, "The Diggers of Colditz" was published simultaneously in the U.K. and Australia in 1985. His next few books were on the Australian prisoner-of-war experience and then he turned his efforts to writing about his principal interest: human space exploration. Burgess has written a number of books on the subject for the University of Nebraska Press and Springer-Praxis. The books he has written or co-authored for Springer-Praxis are "NASA's Scientist-Astronauts," "Animals in Space," "The First Soviet Cosmonaut Team," and "Selecting the Mercury Seven." Recently finished the copyediting/typesetting process is his latest book for Springer-Praxis, "Moon Bound: Choosing and Preparing NASA's Lunar Astronauts." In the interim he has also worked as series editor and sometimes author for the Outward Odyssey set of 12 books on the social history of space exploration for the University of Nebraska Press.

Review quote

From the book reviews: Burgess covers the Mercury spacecraft, astronaut Grissom s background, the details of the flight, and Grissom s future endeavors in the Gemini program, as well as his tragic death in the Apollo 1 fire. The book contains many interesting photographs and appendixes, including the pilot s report as well as a second-by-second time line of the flight. This well-written book would be a welcome addition to the collections of spaceflight enthusiasts. Summing Up: Recommended. Academic and general space history collections. (J. Z. Kiss, Choice, Vol. 52 (2), October, 2014)"

Back cover copy

NASA s Mercury astronauts were seven highly skilled professional test pilots. Each of them seemed to possess the strength of character and commitment necessary to overcome apparently insurmountable obstacles as the United States entered into a Cold War space race with the Soviet Union. This was never more evident than on the epic suborbital MR-4 flight of "Liberty Bell 7 "with astronaut Virgil ( Gus ) Grissom piloting the spacecraft to a successful splashdown, followed by the premature blowing of the craft s explosive hatch. After a hurried exit and struggling to stay afloat, he could only watch helplessly as the recovery helicopter pilot valiantly fought a losing battle to save the sinking capsule. That day NASA not only lost a spacecraft but came perilously close to losing one of its Mercury astronauts, a decorated Korean fighter pilot from Indiana who might one day have soared to the highest goal of them all, as the first person to set foot on the Moon. For the first time, many of those closest to the flight of "Liberty Bell 7 "and astronaut Gus Grissom offer their stories and opinions on the dramatic events of July 21, 1961, and his later pioneering Gemini mission. They also tell of an often controversial life cut tragically and horrifically short in a launch pad fire that shocked the nation. "

Table of contents

An astronaut named Gus.- The MR-3 mission and spacecraft.- Preparing for launch.- The flight of Liberty Bell 7.- An astronaut in peril.- One program ends, another begins.- From the depths of the ocean.- Epilogue: A tale of two hatches.- Appendix.