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  Petition: Grissoms should get MR-4 spacesuit (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Petition: Grissoms should get MR-4 spacesuit
Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-06-2005 06:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Florida Today: Teen launches effort; Smithsonian says garb is theirs
A Connecticut schoolgirl is fighting the federal government over an artifact of space exploration history.

Amanda Meyer, 15, of Madison, Conn., has launched a petition drive to have the Mercury spacesuit worn by Gus Grissom returned to his family. Meyer says the family told her they want the suit to tour the country to help keep the late astronaut's memory alive.

Despite almost 500 signatures on an Internet petition, the silver suit likely will remain in the Astronaut Hall of Fame near Kennedy Space Center, where it is the focus of an exhibit on the Mercury program.

"They have not offered any explanation," said Meyer, who said she plans to become an astronaut. "One NASA representative did e-mail me. They want to keep it."

The suit's staying put, said Peter Golkin, a spokesman for the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum, which claims the suit.

"You've got to give young Amanda credit for being interested," Golkin said. "Gus Grissom's certainly a great role model for someone who wants to be an astronaut. But I don't think she got her facts straight."

Fra Mauro
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posted 04-06-2005 08:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sometimes I think the Grissom family does Gus' legacy harm by all this arguing.

John K. Rochester
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posted 04-06-2005 08:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While I agree with the Smithsonian's claim of ownership, and I feel Scott is a bit misguided in his constant attacks on NASA and anyone who has any dealings with the events of January 1967 and their " motives ". Let the Grissom family have the suit. How many suits does the Smithsonian have in storage away from the eyes of the public? Is one Mercury suit going to make a big difference? Transfer ownership, but make them sign a document that the suit will remain intact, unsold..or we may see swatches of Gus' suit all over the place.

thump
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posted 04-06-2005 08:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for thump   Click Here to Email thump     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with the Smithsonian, due to the fact if the family does get it, what type of conservation skills will they have, none I expect. Now if they want it to go to a museum, the Smithsonian loans out items all the time, and can still recall the item if needed or conservation is needed. If it goes to the family and they use it for show and tells this suit will be damaged for all time and it's "life" expectancy will be very short.

Richard
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posted 04-06-2005 08:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard   Click Here to Email Richard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it is horrible for the Grissom family to use a child to do their bidding.

By the way, if every artifact related to Grissom was so precious to the family, why have they been selling off so many of them in auctions. What makes the suit different?

Rodina
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posted 04-06-2005 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I doubt NASA (or any gov't program) will be anywhere close to the only ticket to orbit by the time this girl is, say, 40. But busting NASA's chops over Grissomite conspiracies won't look good on the application.

Andy McCulley
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posted 04-06-2005 10:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Andy McCulley   Click Here to Email Andy McCulley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I tend to agree with you, John, what difference would one Mercury suit make? But I have to respectfully disagree that NASA or the Smithsonian should give ownership of the suit, or any other artifact for that matter, to a private individual.

Once the first artifact is given over to private ownership, that will open the door and be used as the example for everyone else. And, before you know it, the courts will be agreeing and handing out all sorts of artifacts.

I don't beleive any of the Astronauts would cut up, deface or in any way, destroy the artifact. However, I do believe that, as these gentlemen pass on to their great rewards, you would see pieces of the artifacts turning up on ebay.

I believe it would be a serious mistake to give up artifacts from our wonderful space history to private individuals.

MrSpace86
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posted 04-06-2005 10:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the suit should be given to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center so it can be restored (along with the helmet) so it can be placed next to or inside the Liberty Bell 7. It would really make the display awesome and would make it a small tribute to Gus Grissom.

I also don't understand why the Grissoms dislike NASA and anything that has to do with space. I don't see the other relatives of Apollo 1 victims or Challenger or Columbia acting all weird towards NASA and Space Museums. Let's tarnish the legacy left behind by our loved ones by complaining and saying they were killed by NASA because it was a conspiracy! Give me a break.

Moonwalker1954
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posted 04-06-2005 10:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moonwalker1954   Click Here to Email Moonwalker1954     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You know what, Rodrigo? I was thinking exactly the same thing! What's wrong with Scott Grissom?! Man, get over it!

mdmyer
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posted 04-06-2005 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to agree with Rodrigo. What better place to display the suit than the Kansas Cosmosphere. That is where the Liberty Bell is going to be on permanent display and the suit would make a great addition to that display.

STEVE SMITH
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posted 04-06-2005 11:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for STEVE SMITH   Click Here to Email STEVE SMITH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since Kansas Cosmosphere is an affiliate of the Smithsonian, perhaps it could happen.

Jeff Ollenberger; are you listening.

John K. Rochester
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posted 04-06-2005 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hot Dimmity, Rodrigo... you are a "steely eyed missile man". Why didn't I think of that ('cause I'm possibly the dumbest New Yawker this side of the mighty Mizzou').

The suit and "Liberty Bell 7" reunited again! Now that's an idea!

cfreeze79
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posted 04-06-2005 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not that I am for giving the spacesuit to the Grissoms (the NASM or NASA should retain title to something of that importance), but does anyone have the link to the petition, or is it simply a rider clause on the "Re-open the Apollo 1 investigation" that Scott Grissom has been pushing?

Spacepsycho
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posted 04-06-2005 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the suit should go back to Scott Grissom, that way we'll all be able to buy from eBay a 1x1" section of this rare and historic space suit to hang on our walls. Where do I send my check and I'd really like a piece of the metal mesh...

It's pathetic when a manipulated and uninformed little girl is given so much press of such a non-issue.

It's obvious that the Grissoms are doing anything they can to be counter productive to NASA but there has to be a line drawn so Scott can't bully anyone else. Their antics have no bearing on Gus's legacy because we all know that Gus would spank his little boy for pulling this publicity stunt. Gus was the pro of pros and nothing his family of clowns pull out of their hat, will change the fact that he was the most respected by his peers and the best in his field.

cfreeze79
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posted 04-06-2005 01:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Never mind... found it here and here.

Richard
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posted 04-06-2005 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard   Click Here to Email Richard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, I know I'm probably going to get some people upset about this, but what makes the Grissom family think that they are so special to deserve the spacesuit? Are they more special than families of Basset, See, White, etc.

Does it seem to others that Scott Grissom has now made a career of playing a victim?

Dirk
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posted 04-06-2005 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dirk   Click Here to Email Dirk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In Belgium there is a tradition: the family of a pilot who was KIA receives his helmet, suit etc.

Whatever the family will do with the suit, Grissom gave America the history and he's dead, I think giving the suit to the family is a small gift considering what Grissom gave.

Richard
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posted 04-06-2005 05:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard   Click Here to Email Richard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why stop with the suit? Why not give them the capsule itself?

I agree with you that Grissom was a true hero. He put his life on the line. However, he knew the risks. The family knew the risks as well. The risks were extremely high, but at the same time, the glory and the benefits were just as great. Unfortunately, he lost his life and that is incredibly trajic. However, does that really make him and his family a victim of the U.S. government?

Leon Ford
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posted 04-06-2005 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Leon Ford   Click Here to Email Leon Ford     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I am not mistaken, the Grissoms filed suit against North American after the Apollo 1 fire and got a pretty good settlement. They just seem to keep on and on with what they are "owed". Don't get me wrong, nothing can take the place of a husband and father, but at some point you have to move on.

The suit should stay were it is.

MrSpace86
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posted 04-06-2005 07:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I see that I have given a good idea. We should make a petition to reunite the suit with Liberty Bell 7 at the Cosmosphere. Who else is with me?

Choose2Go
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posted 04-06-2005 09:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Choose2Go     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would be disasterous to the suit to place it in private hands. First, it was never the property of the astronaut that wore it. We (the American public) paid for it, and legal agreements have been drawn to assure their preservation (i.e. - to the Smithsonian). Second, these suits are currently in a battle against time, as they are gradually deteriorating. Their rubber bladders are disintegrating, among other problems. While the Cosmosphere could do a great restoration, that should only be done when preservation becomes impossible.

LoneStar Scouter
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posted 04-06-2005 09:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LoneStar Scouter   Click Here to Email LoneStar Scouter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree... let's reunite the suit with Liberty Bell 7. The suit should remain in a museum for all to see. It is a part of American History. And if there is need for any kind of restoration, then let the Cosmosphere have that project. I got to visit with Jeff Ollenberger and the folks at the Cosmosphere last month. I even got a sneak peek at the construction that is underway for the brand new exhibits that will open in June. It was truly a memorable day...

cfreeze79
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posted 04-06-2005 11:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Question: According to the petition website, Scott Grissom stated that NASA was 'just going to throw out the suit'... Isn't this statement a load of bull, as that was against NASA policy, as well as there was a loan agreement between NASA and Gus (something about a show-n-tell)?

Jurg Bolli
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posted 04-07-2005 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I vote for unification. Good idea, Rodrigo.

spgrissom
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posted 04-09-2005 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally, the Grissom family had no idea that this young lady was taking the steps she has until this afternoon, 4-10-05. I personally asked Betty and she had no idea.

I think that Amanda needs to be commended on her stance. Not too many young people would do such a thing. She has stirred up enough smoke to get the attention of some big time players of this topic...the "owners" of the suit.

But Betty and the rest of the family had no idea.

Good Job Amanda. Keep up the good work.

John K. Rochester
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posted 04-09-2005 08:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And just who is the "owner" of the suit considered to be, in the opinion of the Grissom Family?

Fra Mauro
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posted 04-10-2005 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I think of the dignity that the Columbia and Challenger families have shown, it is in contrast to the Grissom family. Gus' brother doesn't get involved in all this. They let their bitterness over Liberty Bell 7, Apollo 1 and Gus' lost lunar mission hurt their cause.

spgrissom
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posted 04-11-2005 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by John K. Rochester:
And just who is the "owner" of the suit considered to be , in the opinion of the Grissom Family?
In the opinion of the family... they are. I think everyone knows what they think. Having said that, they want it to go to Disney to be displayed at the Mission Space ride at Epcot.

However, that was not the intent of my original post. I just think it was worth noting that Amanda should get praised for the ambitiousness of her quest. Some people are belittling this 15 year old girl, who the Grissom family does not know, for taking a stand and trying her best to see it through regardless of who owns or gets the suit. Not too many 15 year students out there today that would take this on.

cfreeze79
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posted 04-11-2005 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While I don't argee 100% will NASA's method on this, nevertheless, title to the suit never changed hands, officially or unoffically. The suit belongs to all of us, the American people.

While I admire Amanada's spirit and dedication, but it is misplaced in this instance. Protect and preserve, yes! But private hands would potentially ruin a piece of history that belongs to all of us.

NASA had no reason to protest the family's possession all those years and probably wouldn't have protested in the future, save the family's new adversarial nature due to their unfounded preceptions of conspiracy and coverup by NASA over the Apollo 1 fire. Possession, however, does not always denote owership.

Also, flown spacesuits are never disposed of in the matter Scott Grissom described on the petition website. Rather, there is a chain of events, just like there is today, to the disposal of an item (it has to be processed by the government for re-utilization, and then various other institutions. None of the flown spacesuits, to my knowledge have been disposed.

Gus would have wanted everyone to be see the suit, and NASA is the best choice for the continued preservation and protection of the suit for the future. The family, as much as I respect what they have endured, has no valid claim to the item that clearly belongs to all of us.

Stephen Clemmons
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posted 04-12-2005 11:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Stephen Clemmons   Click Here to Email Stephen Clemmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been intriqued by various reports of the Grissom Family fighting over the space suit. I can understand Scott's position, since his father did bring it home for them to play with, but let's face it, according to the laws of the United States, the spacesuit was bought with taxpayer funds and belongs to NASA or to whoever they give custody to, in this case, the Smithsonian Institute, a nonprofit agency.

If for some reason, NASA caves in, then every taxpayer can request similar things that NASA can't use anymore. Just think, every astronaut that flies can then take their suits or helmets home.

There is a set way to do business with NASA or the Government for that matter. First, it has to be declared surplus to their needs. Any other agency can then request it, if it is not claimed, Then any non-profit organization has first dibs. if they don't want it, it must be auctioned off to the highest bidder which could be you or me. The sale is documented on a DD250 or DD1149 showing the disposition and transferring title to the high bidder.

No amount of petitions in the world can change the law. There is one way and that is to get a special bill passed by congress and signed by the president to cover the transfer.

I don't think that will happen.

Another thing, it appears that monetary reasons are behind this effort. Think how valuable this suit would be to a collector, bringing millions on eBay.

Just some ideas for you spacecraft collectors. Just think, if Scott is sucessful, we taxpayers can descend on Kennedy like a swarm of locusts demanding anything that NASA doesn't need. Bring some big trucks cause a lot of that surplus stuff is massive.

dtemple
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posted 04-13-2005 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with most of the comments posted here on this subject. The suit really does belong to NASA. However, Grissom took the suit home with NASA's knowledge and it stayed there. Apparently he was never ordered to bring it back. With no effort on NASA's part to have the suit returned until a few years ago, doesn't that mean the suit was abandoned property by NASA before they tried to reclaim it? If so, the law may side with the Grissom family. I am not a lawyer (nor do I play one on TV), but there are laws regarding what constitutes abandoned property.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-13-2005 11:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dtemple:
With no effort on NASA's part to have the suit returned until a few years ago, doesn't that mean the suit was abandoned property by NASA before they tried to reclaim it?
Think of it this way: the Smithsonian has had a loan agreement with the Science Museum in London, England for the Apollo 10 command module since (I believe) the 1970s. Does the fact that the spacecraft has remained there for so long negate the loan agreement? If the Smithsonian withdrew the loan today, would the Science Museum have any legal standing to declare it theirs? If the answer to these questions is "no" then it should not be any different for the loan agreement between NASA and Grissom.

MrSpace86
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posted 04-13-2005 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my opinion, we have to be realistic. Why would a 15 year old be interested in the spacesuit going to the Grissom family? There must be something behinds the scenes going on.

I still think that there should be like a counter petition to this thing stating that the suit should be put on display at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center with all the other Liberty Bell 7 artifacts that will be on display in June.

(What's next? Who has the legal right to display Apollo 1?)

cfreeze79
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posted 04-13-2005 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ironically, my understanding is that they (NASA) were going to display Apollo 1 at the Astronaut Hall of Fame, but were only able to secure the blessings of two of the three families.

dtemple
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posted 04-13-2005 07:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
If the answer to these questions is "no" then it should not be any different for the loan agreement between NASA and Grissom.
In the case of the Smithsonian and the Science Museum I must assume that a document was prepared regarding the loan of the Apollo 10 CM. In the case of Grissom and his Mercury spacesuit there may or may not have been such a signed agreement.

Again, I am no lawyer, but do know the importance of signed documents outlining what will and will not be done. I have not seen any mention of a document regarding the spacesuit. Did Grissom sign anything regarding his taking the spacesuit?

If he just asked to take it and received verbal permission, there is no legally binding document. The other side is that there is no proof Grissom even had permission to take it if there is nothing official in writing. (I am not implying he did not have permission. Without documentation, though, there is a lack of evidence for a court of law.)

Who granted permission to take the suit? Obviously, if it was Robert Gilruth or Jim Webb then there is no one left alive to offer any testimony. Were there any witnesses? If so, are they still alive?

I have no idea how this will play out, but simply posed the possibility the suit might be judged in court to be abandoned property. If that happens, the Grissom family will get to keep the spacesuit.

In my opinion, the suit should ultimately go to the Smithsonian and then loaned to the Kansas Cosmosphere for display with Liberty Bell 7. The Smithsonian has the means to retard the decay of the suit and have received and preserved other such artifacts, thus they are the most logical choice to receive it.

However, I suspect the judge in this case will not consider the historical nature of the suit, but rather what the law says about its ownership. Hopefully, the law will say it belongs to NASA. If NASA had acted sooner on this (1963 for example), then this situation would not exist.

On a different note... if NASA was not going to destroy the suit as claimed, why did Grissom not return the spacesuit? He had plenty of chances to do so unless he did not take it as early as I assume he did.

Perhaps there is some basis to the claim it would have been destroyed. Maybe Gus Grissom believed this for whatever reason and passed the thought along to his family.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-13-2005 08:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dtemple:
Did Grissom sign anything regarding his taking the spacesuit?
From Grissom artifacts pulled from Hall of Fame:
NASA spokesman Robert Jacobs told collectSPACE that the agency has located the handwritten loan agreement between Grissom and NASA for use of the suit. Grissom borrowed the suit for his son's show-and-tell presentation in mid-1965.

dtemple
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posted 04-13-2005 10:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA spokesman Robert Jacobs told collectSPACE that the agency has located the handwritten loan agreement between Grissom and NASA for use of the suit. Grissom borrowed the suit for his son's show-and-tell presentation in mid-1965.
This document should do a lot toward settling the matter.

spgrissom
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posted 04-14-2005 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MrSpace86:
Why would a 15 year old be interested in the spacesuit going to the Grissom family?
From the articles I have read about her, she does not necessarily want it going to the Grissoms, but she wants to see their wishes fulfilled regarding the suit.

As I stated earlier, the family had no idea that this was even going on.

Stephen Clemmons
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posted 04-18-2005 05:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Stephen Clemmons   Click Here to Email Stephen Clemmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having worked at KSC for many years, I know how easy it is to borrow stuff for a project, usually documented by loan agreement that only states what the equipment is, and approximately how long one needs it. Usually signed by a supervisor or NASA official. Unless it is a critical item, no one seems to care. I know I kept something for over two years and only when I left KSC did the agreement surface. I had forgotten it, but I was not released from bringing it back.

I think that in reality, Scott knows that the suit doesn't belong to him or his family but it's just one more thing to keep NASA aware that he's still around.

Shortly after the fire, the families did sue North American Aviation (Rockwell International) and there was no contest, NAA paid off. I have been told that the amount was one million dollars split between the three families. Based on inflation, it would be about ten million dollars today. The problem, if a set sum was was being paid over a long period of time, based on the award with no COL adjustment, it probably wouldn't be much in today's economy.

I think it was said, that when they were selected as astronauts, they knew the dangers, their families knew the dangers, but they felt the rewards of being an astronaut was much greater, worth all that they might have to go through.

As a member of the space program, it was our job to make sure that everything was done to keep them safe. This we did, but sometimes things get a little out of control through no falult of our own. That's life, we must go on with our life, and I think that's what Gus would have wanted. In fact he said so in so many words shortly before the accident.

This constant bickering about the space suit by the Grissom Family is doing no one any good.

This young lady that started the petition should get her facts straight. Someone should explain that by law, NASA can't just give something that belongs to the taxpayers away on a whim, no matter how hard one cries.

carolynmeyer
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posted 04-25-2005 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carolynmeyer   Click Here to Email carolynmeyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been reading with great interest about this petition and the comments about "this 15 year old girl". I am her mother.

I will tell you from when we first began to tell Amanda the history of space flight, she related to Gus more than any other astronaut. Her interest in his life began to grow as she did through school. She wrote many reports on him, including a lovely report about what it means to be a hero.

This past January, we visited his grave at Arlington National Cemetery. Amanda was deeply moved. She wanted to do something for him and his beloved family, of whom we were honored to actually speak with Scott Grissom.

When she heard about the space suit, this was it. She would never believe Scott Grissom or his family would sell his space suit. The Grissoms have too much integrity for that. They want to have his space suit put where they would choose, and if a loan agreement was signed by NASA and the Grissom family regarding the space suit, doesn't that mean NASA regarded the suit as the Grissom's possession? If it didn't, why not tell them that before signing an agreement? You cannot borrow something unless the other person has posession.

Only the Delaware North Corp. got involved after taking over the Astronaut Hall of Fame and said they would not give it back to the Grissom Memorial Musuem. His suit should be preserved as much as his memory. I believe, as does my daughter, the Grissom Family would do just that.


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