On July 21, 1961, Hoosier astronaut Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom became the second American and the third human to rocket into space as a Redstone rocket blasted his Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft into a suborbital flight lasting approximately fifteen minutes.
Grissom's home county of Lawrence will be honoring its favorite son by commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Liberty Bell 7 mission with special events from July 21 to 23 at venues located at Spring Mill State Park and the neighboring cities of Mitchell (where Gus was born and raised) and Bedford.
As Gus's biographer (Gus Grissom: The Lost Astronaut), I will be doing a program on his the ill-fated Apollo 1 mission that took his life along with fellow astronauts Ed White and Roger Chaffee in a fire on January 27, 1967. My talk begins at 6 p.m. in the Grissom Auditorium at Mitchell High School, 1000 Bishop Boulevard, Mitchell. Following my talk will be a presentation of the Discovery Channel documentary on the search and recovery of the Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft. Afterwards, Kurt Newport, the man who led the search for the capsule and documented the recovery on film, will speak and answer questions from the audience.
Other programs during the next few days include a Friday luncheon with two other Lawrence County astronauts, Charlie Walker and Ken Bowersox; a Saturday open house at the Grissom boyhood home in Mitchell; a grand parade through the streets of Mitchell; and a Saturday evening reception at the Grissom Memorial at Spring Mill State Park.