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Pilot Observation Camera Film

Mission: Mercury-Redstone 4
Liberty Bell 7
  Crew: Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom
Launch: July 21, 1961  
Landing: July 21, 1961  
Duration: 15 min, 37 seconds  
Comment: Liberty Bell 7 sank after splashdown

This 16mm film strip is an original piece from Liberty Bell 7's pilot observation camera, which shot the movements of Gus Grissom as he became the second U.S. astronaut in space. The images captured on this film were the only in- flight visual record documenting what took place inside the Mercury capsule during its 15-minute suborbital flight and the harrowing moments when it sank. After 38 years at the bottom of the ocean, corrosion dissolved the camera and left the film to be exposed to water and cold. The contents of the film will never be known.

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