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Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom "If we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life." - Gus Grissom, after the Gemini 3 mission, March 1965 Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom (April 3, 1926 – January 27, 1967) was a United States Air Force pilot and one of the original Mercury 7 NASA astronauts. A native of Mitchell, Indiana, he was the second American to fly in space.
Astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom, the second American to fly into space, shown strapped in a centrifuge during a simulated space flight, 1959. Lieutenant Col. Grissom was killed, along with fellow astronauts Roger Chaffee and Ed White, in a launch pad fire while training for the Apollo 1 mission in January 1967.