ALS, one page, 8.5 x 11, personal letterhead, no date. In full: “Instead of blaming newly designed equipment observers blamed Gus Grissom for blowing his hatch after his water landing. This caused the spacecraft to sink and almost cost Gus his life. I was almost badly hurt during a helicopter pick-up in training, and I decided to have Sigma 7, my Mercury spacecraft, hoisted onboard the carrier by a shipboard crane. A mattress was placed near the hatch of Sigma 7 permitting me to blow the hatch while on the flight deck. I hit the plunger, actuator with my right hand. The ‘switch’ was about two inches in diameter, and the recoil cut through my glove and cut my hand. Gus was thrilled to see the cut, the next day, on the carrier, and we all agreed there had been no marks on Gus after Libery Bell sank. Gus was vindicated.” In fine condition. Accompanied by a color satin-finish 10 x 8 composite photo of Schirra’s experiment with the hatch, signed in the lower border in black felt tip, “Schirra blows the hatch, Gus is vindicated! Wally Schirra,” adding his mission insignia next to his signature. Speculation over Grissom’s mishandling of the Liberty Bell 7 hatch was finally put to rest by fellow Mercury astronaut Schirra, whose experiment and subsequent hand injury during the Sigma 7 landing convinced NASA engineers that Grissom was indeed telling the truth, and that blame should be cast on the spacecraft’s faulty egress system. Pre-certified Zarelli Space Authentication.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.