July 21 marks 60 years since Liberty Bell 7 crash

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 6:07 PM CDT
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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KWCH) - Wednesday marks the 60th anniversary of the Liberty Bell Seven crash.

The capsule’s 15-minute and 37-second flight ended with a splash in the Atlantic Ocean. Gus Grissom was the only crew member on the flight. Grissom made it out, but the spacecraft didn’t make it out for nearly 38 years.

Hutchinson resident Max Bringle remembers watching the flight 60 years ago.

“I actually watched that event happen live and watched the spacecraft as they were trying to lift it and then having to drop the spacecraft because it was too heavy,” he said. “It was quite a traumatic event watching Gus Grissom and wondering what was going to happen.”

The capsule was recovered on July 20, 1999, just one day away from the 38th anniversary of the crash. It took six months to fully restore the spacecraft.

The Kansas Cosmosphere owns the Liberty Bell Seven. Having possession of a spacecraft that has significance in American space history holds a special meaning to Kansas Cosmosphere CEO Jim Remar.

“NASA and Smithsonian decided to sign the title over to the Cosmosphere, so we actually own the spacecraft,” he said. “We are one of only four museums in the country to display a flown manned Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, so that puts us in some exclusive company.”

Visitors can view the 2,800-pound spacecraft at the Kansas Cosmosphere.

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