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1961

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Astronaut Gus Grissom climbs into "Liberty Bell 7" spacecraft before launch on the morning of July 21, 1961. Astronaut John Glenn, Grissom's back up, helps him into the capsule. A problem with the hatch led Grissom's capsule to sink after splashdown. It was salvaged from the Atlantic Ocean in 1999. Grissom's suborbital flight on a Mercury-Redstone rocket was the second manned U.S. spaceflight. Glenn followed him a month later with the first orbital flight by an American. (UPI Photo/NASA)
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