Mercury Redstone 4: Photos from Gus Grissom's Liberty Bell 7 Spaceflight

2nd American in Space


Virgil "Gus" Grissom was one of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts. He became the second American to go to space on July 21, 1961.

Ready for the Centrifuge


In 1959, a Navy corpsman prepares Grissom for centrifuge training at the Johnsville Human Centrifuge by attaching sensors that monitor his body's reaction.

Chillin' in Training


During a 1961 water egress training, Grissom floats in a life raft.

Out to Sea


A vessel carries Gus Grissom and John Glenn to an emergency water egress simulation with a Mercury space capsule mockup suspended above the water.

Ready for the Test


On April 25, 1961, Grissom dons the new Mercury spacesuit as he awaits participation in the emergency water egress training. He stands near the mockup Mercury capsule on the deck of the ship.

Steps toward the Launch


Approaching the Mercury-Redstone 4 launch vehicle, fully outfitted in his spacesuit, Grissom walks toward the elevator up to the space capsule. To the left an emergency shower stall is visible.

Ready and Waiting


Mercury-Redstone 4 backup pilot John Glenn talks with astronaut Gus Grissom, who is suited and ready to enter the Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft. The launch was cancelled shortly thereafter due to poor weather conditions.

Posing for a Photo


Outside the Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft, Grissom poses for a photo in his spacesuit, ready for the launch of his Mercury-Redstone 4 mission. John Glenn, the backup pilot, kneels in the background. The mission was postponed due to bad weather conditions.

New Duds


In preparation for the launch of the Mercury-Redstone 4 mission, Grissom enters the Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft with assistance from NASA technicians. John Glenn, the backup pilot for the mission, watches the insertion. Grissom wears the newly designed Mercury pressure suit. The launch was scrubbed a little while later due to weather conditions.

Preparing for Launch


On July 21, 1961, the third of three attempt to launch the Mercury-Redstone 4 mission, Grissom sits inside the Liberty Bell 7 Mercury spacecraft and checks the flight plan during prelaunch activities.

The Final Countdown


On the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, personnel stand around the base of the Mercury-Redstone 4 spacecraft during the final moment of countdown before launch.

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

Christine Lunsford joined the team in 2010 as a freelance producer and later became a contributing writer, covering astrophotography images, astronomy photos and amazing space galleries and more. During her more than 10 years with, oversaw the site's monthly skywatching updates and produced overnight features and stories on the latest space discoveries. She enjoys learning about subjects of all kinds.