Very early TLS signed “Virgil I. Grissom,” one page, 8 x 10.5, NASA letterhead, August 4, 1961. Letter to Thomas H. Scullion, in full: "Thank you for your congratulations and thoughtfulness. The people of the United States, indeed the entire free world, are very happy and proud because of our successful space flight. Project Mercury is planning for more flights in the future. Let us hope that success follows success." In fine condition. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope. Less than three months after the flight of Alan Shepard's Freedom 7, Gus Grissom earned the distinction of becoming the second American to reach space when his Liberty Bell 7 launched on July 21, 1961. However, unlike the successful splashdown of Shepard, the premature opening of his capsule's hatch upon Atlantic touchdown nearly led to Grissom's drowning. Having already unbuckled most of his harnessing, Grissom was able to quickly free himself and escape from the sinking craft. After four to five minutes of treading water, an exhausted and relieved Grissom was lifted aboard a recovery helicopter. For his subsequent Gemini 3 mission, Grissom playfully named the spacecraft 'Molly Brown,' in reference to the Titanic's 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' and his own harrowing experience. Grissom remains highly sought-after across all formats, with this letter all the more desirable given that it was written just two weeks after his inaugural spaceflight. From The Bill Lende Collection.
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