Helicopters try to rescue the Liberty Bell 7 capsule and Gus Grissom.
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Courtesy of NASA

Sunken Mercury Capsule is Recovered!
News story originally written on July 21, 1999

A 38 year-old Mercury capsule has finally been found and recovered from the Atlantic Ocean. The Liberty Bell 7, an important piece of the Mercury Program, sank to the sea floor after successfully making its flight into space. This rusty, muddy U.S. spacecraft was the only one to have a successful mission and not be recovered.

The Liberty Bell 7 was flown by Gus Grissom in 1961. When the capsule landed in the ocean, the hatch blew open too soon, allowing water to flow in. Grissom survived the accident, but the helicopter couldn't support the weight of the capsule.

The spacecraft was still in good shape after many years in the sea. Even the cord used by the helicopter while trying to save the vessel was still attached. The capsule weighed almost 2 tons because it was full of so much mud. This made it difficult to bring up from 3 miles below the surface.

The capsule will first go on a 3 year tour of the country and then it will stay in the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas.

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