Kennedy Space Center Site Index
Astronaut Memorial Gallery

Virgil "Gus" Grissom

Detail of part of the plaque at the memorial. It reads

Virgil "Gus" Grissom

Born April 3, 1926 in Mitchell, Indiana. Gus earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University. Grissom and his wife, Betty More Grissom, have two children, Scott and Mark.

Lieutenant Colonel Grissom was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts selected by NASA in 1959. He piloted the "Liberty Bell 7" spacecraft, the second suborbital Mercury test flight, on July 21, 1961. On March 23, 1965 Grissom served as command pilot on the first manned Gemini flight, a three-orbit mission. He subsequently served as backup command pilot for Gemini 6, and he was chosen to serve as command pilot for the first three-manned Apollo flight, Apollo 1.

Grissom had flown 100 combat missions with the 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in Korea and earned both the Air Medal with cluster and the Distinguished Flying Cross. During a countdown simulation of the Apollo 1 mission, a flash fire consumed the spacecraft.

Virgil "Gus" Grissom made the ultimate sacrifice and lost his life in service to the nation and the space program on January 27, 1967 at 40 years of age.

Time picture taken Tue Jun 15 13:21:36 2004
File name dsc06048.jpg
Location picture taken Astronaut Memorial
Visitor Center
Kennedy Space Center, FL
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