Members of the Apollo 1 crew in training. Gus Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee were all killed on January 27, 1967, when a fire broke out in their capsule during testing.
While there are 30 astronauts with Hoosier ties, I want to concentrate on two of our most noteworthy: Neil Armstrong and Gus Grissom.
Neil Alden Armstrong, graduated from Purdue University with a degree in aeronautical engineering after serving in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon in 1969, uttering the phrase we all know well: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” As Dr. Kacena is an adjunct professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Purdue University, we in the lab take particular pride in both our Indiana University and Purdue University-educated astronauts.
Another famous Hoosier in space, Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, was born and raised in Indiana. Also a graduate of Purdue, Grissom was the second American ever to go to space, and the first to travel there twice. Grissom was one of seven test pilots selected from 110 military pilots invited by the government to learn about space exploration. After passing all the physical and psychological examinations, Grissomwas selected as an astronaut for Project Mercury. Grissom flew two missions for NASA and was tragically killed in the Apollo spacecraft flash fire during a launch test at Kennedy Space Center. Today, in his hometown of Mitchell, Indiana, there is a museum in his honor that houses his old spacesuit, gloves, and helmet. Girssom received a posthumous Congressional Space Medal Honor for his work.
Written by: Kishan
“Astronaut Bio: Neil A. Armstrong.” Astronaut Bio: Neil A. Armstrong. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 08/2012. Web. 03 June 2015.
“Astronaut Bio: Virgil I. Grissom.” Astronaut Bio: Virgil I. Grissom. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 09/1997. Web. 03 June 2015.
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