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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.
Born in Mitchell, Indiana, Gus Grissom received a mechanical engineering B.S. from Purdue University in 1950 and then enlisted in the United States Air Force. Grissom was the second American in space as one of the original NASA Project Mercury astronauts. In 1967, Grissom was killed during an Apollo 1 mission pre-launch test at the Kennedy Space Center. The Grissom Memorial at Spring Mill State Park honors Grissom’s work in space exploration.