A piece of history spent 16 minutes in space and 38 years on the ocean floor. Now the Liberty Bell 7 is at the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, fully restored and ready for the world to see. It was there that four-person crew put in thousands of hours of painstaking work to restore the spacecraft.
The Mercury space capsule is the star of a 6,000-square foot interactive exhibit that opened Saturday at the space museum. The exhibit is called The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell Seven Recovered.
Gus Grissom piloted the capsule during a July 1961 manned flight, only the second such mission in the history of the NASA space program. The mission lasted only a few minutes before splashing down into the Atlantic Ocean.
The capsule's escape hatch prematurely blew, causing it to quickly fill with water. Grissom barely escaped drowning before the capsule sunk. It remained at the bottom of the Atlantic until it was retrieved in 1999.
After a national tour, the Cosmosphere will be the permanent home of the space capsule.