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  Mercury Redstone "Liberty Bell 7" flown headset

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Author Topic:   Mercury Redstone "Liberty Bell 7" flown headset
JuanDiablo
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Posts: 10
From: Melbourne FL. USA
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 04-23-2011 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JuanDiablo   Click Here to Email JuanDiablo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a headset used by Major (Gus Grissom) on Project Mercury 4 "Liberty Bell 7" sub-orbital flight on July 21, 1961, NASA p/n EC 30104, Serial 372, model MS 52-11. This came from the estate of a former NASA employee.

I was wondering if there is a way to research this item for authenticity?

capoetc
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Posts: 1790
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 04-23-2011 02:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Grissom had his space suit and helmet on for the entire flight, so it was likely not used by him on the flight.

It could have been (1) used by him as CAPCOM for another flight, or (2) used by the NASA employee you mentioned on the MR-4 flight.

Unfortunately, if you don't have specific photo and written documentation for the headset, then it would likely have to be sold as "owned by XXXXXX, who was a member of the launch control team" and "possibly used during "XXX mission".

Got any pictures of the headset? That would help -- you can e-mail to me if you don't know how to post here. Also, it would help if you could divulge the name of the NASA employee -- higher likelihood it was used in mission control if he was a flight controller.

JuanDiablo
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Posts: 10
From: Melbourne FL. USA
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 04-23-2011 03:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JuanDiablo   Click Here to Email JuanDiablo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This has a card with it stating it was flown by Grissom on a sub-orbital flight lasting 15 min. 30 sec. One of two headsets carried on flight. I think there may be some verifying documentation?

I have contacted Plantronics who is likely the Mfg.? All other items from this estate have been authentic.

dsenechal
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Posts: 410
From:
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 04-23-2011 06:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dsenechal   Click Here to Email dsenechal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If it is Plantronics, could not have been used by Grissom during his Mercury flight. Pacific Electronics (later known as Plantronics) was not formed until April 1961, and Wally Schirra was first to use any of their devices in Sigma 7. Grissom's helmet used standard Mark IV earphones, and dual Roanwell Corp. microphones. Mission control used the clunky old-fashioned Western Electric headsets for most of the Mercury era.

ejectr
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Posts: 1539
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 04-23-2011 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought I remember reading that Grissom's flight helmet sank with Liberty Bell 7. He had his helmet off in the water and almost drowned because the neck dam wasn't tight and he left a vent open in his suit.

How could this headset be his flight headset from his helmet?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-23-2011 07:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Grissom's flown MR-4 helmet, as said to have been verified by its serial number, is on exhibit at the Grissom Memorial Museum in Spring Hill State Park in Indiana.


Photo credit: John McGauley

ejectr
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Posts: 1539
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 04-23-2011 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ejectr:
I thought I remember reading that Grissom's flight helmet sank with Liberty Bell 7.
Found this...
Grissom had difficulty recollecting his actions at this point, but he was certain that he had not touched the hatch-activation plunger. He doffed his helmet, grasped the instrument panel with his right hand, and scurried out the sloshing hatchway. Floating in the sea, he was thankful that he had unbuckled himself earlier from most of his harness, including the chest restraints. Otherwise he might not have been able to abandon.

Joel Katzowitz
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Posts: 445
From: Marietta GA USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 04-23-2011 07:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joel Katzowitz   Click Here to Email Joel Katzowitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My recollection of the story is he removed his helmet while still in the spacecraft and rolled up his neck damn. He later said that deploying his neck damn was the smartest thing he'd done all day. His helmet had apparently sunk with the spacecraft but was later found floating in the ocean and retrieved by the recovery team.

FFrench
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Posts: 3111
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-23-2011 07:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
P. 88 of Into That Silent Sea:
A ship's officer would later hand Grissom his helmet, which had been retrieved from the water. To the astronaut's astonishment, the man told him it had been plucked from the sea right next to a circling ten-foot shark.

ejectr
Member

Posts: 1539
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 04-23-2011 08:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Amazing! I even read your book Francis, but didn't remember that passage.

My apologies for the hijack to the gentleman wanting info on his headset.

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3111
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-23-2011 08:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, your question was important as part of the conversation, to establish the helmet was ever recovered.

JuanDiablo
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Posts: 10
From: Melbourne FL. USA
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 04-24-2011 09:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JuanDiablo   Click Here to Email JuanDiablo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think this headset was part of the helmet. I think it was worn in or under the cloth "Snoopy" cap?

Also my research indicates this headset predates the Plantronics M-50 by a few months? I was hoping someone might recognize the logo or part numbers?

Try looking at the photos. You can also check the Plantronics headset here.

Thanks for all the input. Keep it coming!

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 844
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 04-24-2011 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that the provenance card maybe mistaken. The part number (or P/N), EC30104 is a Gemini part number. The stowage list on GT-5 lists the following;

"Lightweight Headset EC30104 (Qty) 2 "

It would make sense that two of these headsets were carried on a Gemini spacecraft for the CDR and PLT.

JuanDiablo
Member

Posts: 10
From: Melbourne FL. USA
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 05-16-2011 10:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JuanDiablo   Click Here to Email JuanDiablo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can anyone help with the authentication of this headset? Has NASA p/n, ser# etc.

Lou Chinal
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Posts: 1086
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 05-17-2011 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Look at photo #61-MR4-17. It shows Grissom with a headset inside the procedures trainer at Langley, taken July 17, 1961. Four days before the flight.

JuanDiablo
Member

Posts: 10
From: Melbourne FL. USA
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 05-17-2011 04:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JuanDiablo   Click Here to Email JuanDiablo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Where do I find the photo? #61-MR4-17

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 844
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 05-17-2011 08:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did help you. This is a Gemini headset that shows up on the Gemini stowage list. The P/N is on the Gemini hardware lists.

It is not a Mercury headset, because Gus wore a helmet with built in earphones.

All times are CT (US)

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