LT. COLONEL VIRGIL I. "GUS" GRISSOM - STAMP(S) SIGNED - HFSID 86188
GUS GRISSOM. Stamp signed: "Gus/Grissom", 2x2, affixed to similar size portion of original envelope. This stamp, issued by the Yemen Arab Republic, was one of a series of three honoring President John F. Kennedy, whose birth and death dates are imprinted on the stamp in English and Arabic.
Sale Price $850.00
GUS GRISSOM. Stamp signed: "Gus/Grissom", 2x2, affixed to similar size portion of original envelope. This stamp, issued by the Yemen Arab Republic, was one of a series of three honoring President John F. Kennedy, whose birth and death dates are imprinted on the stamp in English and Arabic. Each of the stamps featured a different spacecraft. Kennedy, who had sought greater U.S. influence in the Arab world, had deployed fighter jets in Saudi Arabia as a warning to Egypt after Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser intervened in Yemen's civil war. Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom (1926-1967) was one of the seven original Project Mercury astronauts selected by NASA in April 1959. In the second Mercury flight, on July 21, 1961, aboard Liberty Bell 7, Grissom spent 15 minutes in space. His flight was successful, but the spacecraft was lost during the post-landing recovery period as a result of the premature actuation of the explosively actuated side egress hatch. The capsule sank in 15,000 feet of water shortly after splashdown. Grissom almost drowned but managed to escape and was rescued after being in the water for three to four minutes. (Liberty Bell 7, which filled up with water and sank in the Atlantic, was hauled out of the ocean on July 20, 1999 in a private effort funded by the Discovery Channel. It was restored by an expert team that has done work for NASA and the National Air and Space Museum and is now on display at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas). Once Grissom was onboard the recovery aircraft carrier, he received a telephone call from President Kennedy. Grissom's next assignment was the first manned flight in Project Gemini, Gemini 3, with rookie astronaut John Young as pilot, on March 23, 1965. Grissom named the Gemini 3 capsule The Molly Brown as a good luck charm to prevent its sinking like Liberty Bell 7. [Mrs. Molly Brown had survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and was nicknamed "the Unsinkable Molly Brown".] Grissom and Young orbited the Earth three times, spending four hours and 53 minutes in space. Grissom was then selected to command the first manned Apollo mission, scheduled for early 1967. On the evening of January 27, 1967, Grissom, Gemini 4 astronaut Edward H. White II and rookie astronaut Roger B. Chaffee were strapped securely in their flight seats undergoing a routine launching pad test when a sudden fire engulfed them. Sealed off from the outside in a pure-oxygen atmosphere, all three died instantly. Portion of postmark (illegible) at lower margin. Fine condition.
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