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  Gus Grissoms Liberty Bell 7 space suit

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Author Topic:   Gus Grissoms Liberty Bell 7 space suit
Ed beck
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posted 12-05-2002 10:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ed beck   Click Here to Email Ed beck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I must have missed something. Last I read there was going to be a big showdown between NASA and the Grissom family over who owns, and, or who should control the disposition of Gus Grissom's flown Mercury suit. What happened? I missed the result.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-05-2002 10:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
See Full Coverage: Grissom spacesuit tug-of-war

I spoke with Scott Grissom a couple of days ago. The suit remains at the AHoF, awaiting further action by NASA.

Ed beck
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posted 12-06-2002 08:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ed beck   Click Here to Email Ed beck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the update Robert. I did check the news section, and just flat missed that story. Some times you can't see the forest for the trees.

Now to change gears, what does everyone think should happen to the suit? Should NASA get it back? Or should it remain in the control of the Grissom family? It does look too me that NASA never gave the suit to them as a permanent possession, however, I don't see any harm that the family controls it. But, if that is allowed to stand what kind of precedent does that set for other space relics? Should the Whites, for example, get Ed White's space suit that he flew in on Gemini 4 that is in the Smithsonian? Where do you draw the line?

I am not sure. Any thoughts?

Gordon Reade
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posted 01-12-2003 12:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Gus' family should be allowed to keep the suit.

I also think that this is a speical case. By that I mean I don't think NASA will have to give anything else away.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-12-2003 01:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When interviewed, Scott Grissom, Gus' son, was quoted as saying that if the suit was returned to the family that he couldn't rule out the possibility that it might be sold.

As space memorabilia collectors, that should be good news right?

But what prevents the Grissoms from selling the suit to someone who sees a stronger financial return by cutting it into pieces and selling those fragments to us (collectors)? Sure, we all get to own a piece of a flown spacesuit but the world loses an intact artifact of which there are only six.

Even if that extreme scenario were not to transpire, these suits are falling apart due to age. We are fortunate to have an institution like the Smithsonian that is investing money into preserving the suits for future generations. Are the Grissoms prepared to do the same? Should they be allowed to let the suit degrade until it is no longer intact?

Gus borrowed the suit from NASA to share with his son's class in 1965. That much is documented. Never did the Grissom family own the suit. The fact that NASA agreed with the family's decisions throughout the years as to where to display the suit (most recently at the AHOF) does not mean that NASA couldn't have requested its return at any time.

I see no reason why the Grissoms are due the suit today.

John K. Rochester
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posted 01-12-2003 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I absolutely agree that the Grissom's have no claim to ownership of the suit.

It is, of course, just my opinion on this, but to have them parading around saying that Gus, Roger, and Ed were murdered is absolute lunacy... almost as implausible as the "We did not land on the Moon" freaks.

Do they really believe that people like Chris Kraft, Deke Slayton and Al Shepard would allow themselves to be involved with a program that could do that to a fellow flyer? Maybe they did not know about it you ask?

To have something like that occur, there would have to be thousands of people involved ...from technicians on the pad to upper management to insure its secrecy... and at that time the space program was covered from "Launch to Splashdown" by hundreds of thousands of press. A secret of that magnitude, someone would have spoken out and come clean.

Now for the family to ask for ownership of a historic artifact from the very agency that they are attacking! Ludicrous...

spaceman
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posted 01-12-2003 11:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman   Click Here to Email spaceman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to agree with Robert on this one. I would much rather NASA kept a hold of it for posterity and we all then have the chance to see it closeup at some stage. To cut it into pieces would be a disaster.

I'm sure the astronauts and their family/friends are able to keep lesser items and much of it flown. (I wish I had an astronaut relation, I'm open to adoption).

randy
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posted 01-12-2003 11:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Robert on this one, too. I think it should stay in the AHoF.

MICHAEL CLEMENTE
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posted 01-13-2003 03:41 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Robert. However, I feel that Gus's spacesuit should be displayed along or inside the Liberty Bell 7. Similar to the way in which John Glenn's is displayed at the NASM. Just a thought

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-13-2003 03:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry to disappoint, but that isn't Glenn's original suit inside Friendship 7 at the National Air and Space Museum (if that is what you are referring to), though it is inside the same museum.

The original suit is on display as part of the Racing To The Moon exhibit, which itself is part of Gallery 114, Space Race.

MICHAEL CLEMENTE
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posted 01-13-2003 05:16 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry, what I meant was that it should be in the same place with the Liberty Bell 7 as Glenn's suit is in the same place as Friendship 7.

sapper82
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posted 01-13-2003 11:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sapper82   Click Here to Email sapper82     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a side note, Grissom's suit story actually made it into the Economist magazine (for those of you who know this weekly political magazine). I was surprised to see it become so newsworthy.

Gordon Reade
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posted 01-14-2003 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was surprised (and a bit sad) to hear that the suit flap was printed in the pages of the Economist. This story doesn't make anyone look good. NASA, Grissom's family, everyone comes across as cheap and petty.

Gus was not the first American in space, nor was he the first American into orbit. The NASM has Shepard's and Glenn's suit so they own the real crown jewels.

The reason most people remember this suit is that Gus very nearly drowned while wearing it. Hardly NASA's finest hour!

The best thing for everyone is if there were some clean and quiet way to put this matter to rest. Give it to Gus' family and maybe they'll go away.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-14-2003 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wasn't happy with the Economist's treatment of the story either and I wrote the editor as such:
Dear editors,

In your article "Houston, We Have Another Problem; An Unseemly Wrangle Over A Hero's Clothes", you fail to mention a key consideration over who now owns Virgil "Gus" Grissom's Mercury spacesuit. Namely, Grissom signed a loan agreement with NASA in 1965 (which the space agency still possesses) to share the suit with his son's class for 'show and tell'. At no point, did the Mercury astronaut -- or for that matter, any Mercury astronaut -- own his suit.

Robert Pearlman, editor
collectSPACE

I personally do not believe the Grissoms deserved to be awarded anything at this time. Scott Grissom has publicly attacked Guenter Wendt, Max Ary, and Curt Newport for "planting" dimes inside Liberty Bell 7 (even though Betty has sold quite a few over the years, Scott cannot fathom that engineers also secretly stashed rolls of dimes on-board). And that's not saying anything about their participation in the FOX Moon Hoax special and their public accusations that NASA had the crew killed/it was sabotage/it was a terrorist attack/whatever flavor of the conspiracy they are promoting today.

For years, the Grissoms have been claiming that anything connected with Gus' flight belonged and was controlled by them, including personal items gifted by Gus to other astronauts and Liberty Bell 7. As no other astronauts' family has gotten the same consideration, I do not understand why they deserve special treatment.

br62
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posted 01-15-2003 11:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for br62   Click Here to Email br62     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Based on past actions of the Grissom family, I think Robert's warning should be well heeded and the suit should be kept out of their greedy little hands. I could easily see where they, or someone they enter into a deal with, would chop the suit apart and sell the pieces as collectors items.

Look at the field of sports memorabilia, where it is not unusual to find items such as Babe Ruth bats and Jackie Robinson uniforms that have been cut up and slapped onto cards. Sure, it makes it much easier for people to own a piece of memorabilia, but at what cost to historical preservation. And is it really worth it?

Please, leave the suit at the Astronaut Hall Of Fame, where it will be taken care of and preserved so that many generations will continue to have the opportunity to view and enjoy it!

Rizz
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posted 01-15-2003 11:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Amen.

Ed beck
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posted 01-16-2003 06:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ed beck   Click Here to Email Ed beck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow! What a lot of great responces. I had rather given up that anyone was going to since my last post was in early December! But, hey! better late than never. I don't know why the Grissoms believe that NASA conspired to kill Grissom, White, and Chaffee. I haven't seen, or heard their evedence. However, It cannot be over looked that NASA did indeed kill that crew!

It did it as a result of a rush to get the job done in a fast and sloppy manor. It was carelessness that caused that fire. GO fever if you will. But, the astronauts had it too. They did, after all, willingly alow themselves to be stapped into what they knew to be a dangerous vehicle.

So, Gus as spacecraft commander, has to assume some amount of responsibility for the loss of his life, and that of his crew.

I do believe that NASA should treat the Grissom family better than they have. I don't think that they should get a blank check, but something better than they got is in order. They need to be gently, but firmly told that they do not own, or control the suit, or Liberty Bell 7. It is not thiers.

I do believe that it is in NASA's best interest to find some way to patch things up with them. Far too many people already believe we never landed on the Moon. I know, I am surrounded by them at work. Yes they are serious, and so far I have been unable to convince them otherwise. Even going as far a showing them my dust. They were not at all impressed, and laughed at it.

This is getting very serious. So I hope that NASA will do the right thing by the Grissom Family. They don't need to give them the suit,

But, I think they better start kissing some butt over there, before they are allowed to further damage the history of the space program. Whew! My hands hurt. Nuf for now.

Gordon Reade
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posted 01-18-2003 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ed, as for your co-workers who don't believe we landed on the moon and laughed at your dust, I have an idea.

Show them some green cheese and tell them it came from the moon! Maybe they'll believe that. Either way it will be your turn to laugh!

Ed beck
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posted 01-19-2003 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ed beck   Click Here to Email Ed beck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gordon, I like it!! but, where do you find green cheese?

Gordon Reade
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posted 01-19-2003 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll have to work on finding the green cheese!

I have done quite a few school star parties this year at Elementary, Middle and High Schools. That's where the PTA and the school management invite members of the local Astronomy club to come set up our telescopes and let the students look through them. The star parties are often scheduled to follow a school play, ball game or dance. Times when the children are on school grounds after hours.

We always get a great response from the kids but sometimes I'll have a high schooler say to me in a loud voice, "I heard we never went to the moon!" This really bugs me. It's like hearing, "The holocaust never happend! You'll have to dig up 6 million dead Jews to prove it was real!"

I don't want to get mad at the student who said it because I'm a guest at his school. What I do is remember something Arthur Clarke once said.

Clarke said that after returned from the moon the crew of Apollo 12 visited him in Sri Lanka. Anyway they were all riding in Clarke's car with Pete Conrad asleep in the front passenger seat. Clarke said, "Do you know that there are people who don't believe you went to the moon?" Right then Conrad woke up and yelled, "I don't believe it either!!!"

I try to remember that story to keep my sense of humor.

Hawkman
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posted 01-19-2003 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkman   Click Here to Email Hawkman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ed beck:
...but, where do you find green cheese?
Try leaving some cheddar in your socks for a week. That should do it.

Ed beck
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posted 01-20-2003 09:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ed beck   Click Here to Email Ed beck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey! If the helmet from Liberty Bell 7 is in Indiana at the Grissom museum, I have a few questions. When did it get there?

I remember seeing a helmet on top of the suit at the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Was that taken to Indiana? Or is that another helmet that was displayed in order to show what a complete suite looks like? If that is what happened, who's helmet is it?

UGH! I need a tums!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-20-2003 09:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your memory is correct -- the suit at the AHoF does have a helmet, and it could be Grissom's -- its just not the one that flew (at least according to Max Ary).

The flown helmet was never at the AHoF. Its unclear though, when it was donated to the Spring Mill State Park by Mr. and Mrs. Grissom.

Ed beck
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posted 01-22-2003 09:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ed beck   Click Here to Email Ed beck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Robert. I wonder if that might not be the best solution. Let the family have the helmet, and have the suit, with whatever is on top of it at the AHOF, stay at the AHOF. Everybody wins, I think... right? That is if the family does have the right helmet. Oh this is turning into a Maalox moment. I can't wait to read how this ends.

John K. Rochester
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posted 01-23-2003 07:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Please correct me if I am wrong, but didn't the helmet go down with Liberty Bell? I don't remember ever seeing Gus flailing around in the ocean with his helmet... I thought he removed it, and was waiting for Hunt Club to come in and get a hook-up.

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