Grissom, Virgil I.

Grissom, Virgil I.

▪ American astronaut
in full  Virgil Ivan Grissom,  byname  Gus Grissom  
born April 3, 1926, Mitchell, Ind., U.S.
died Jan. 27, 1967, Cape Kennedy, Fla.
 second U.S. astronaut to travel in space and the command pilot of the ill-fated Apollo (Apollo program) 1 crew. He and his fellow astronauts Edward H. White (White, Edward H., II) and Roger B. Chaffee (Chaffee, Roger B.) were killed, becoming the first casualties of the U.S. space program, when a flash fire swept their space capsule during a simulation of the scheduled Feb. 21, 1967, launching of Apollo 1.

      Commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in 1951, Grissom flew 100 missions in the Korean War, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with cluster. He was a test pilot and flying instructor until 1959, when he was selected as one of the original seven astronauts for Project Mercury. On July 21, 1961, Grissom became the third man to enter space, with a 15-minute suborbital journey aboard the space capsule Liberty Bell 7.

 On March 23, 1965, Grissom became the first man to return to space, as he (as command pilot) and Lieutenant Commander John W. Young (Young, John W.) made three orbits in the first manned Gemini flight, Gemini 3. During that flight Grissom demonstrated that a space capsule could be maneuvered manually.

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Universalium. 2010.

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