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The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered Splashes Down at The Tech Museum of Innovation

Press Release Date 
Tuesday, 25 September, 2001
A new exhibition at The Tech Museum of Innovation, The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered, is poised to take visitors on a journey through the history and technology of space travel and deep sea exploration. The exhibition, nationally presented by The Discovery Channel and created by BBH Exhibits, will run from October 4, 2001 to January 6, 2002. Liberty Bell 7, launched in 1961, was NASA's second manned space shot. After a successful 15-minute orbit, the Liberty Bell 7 capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean. At splashdown, the capsule's escape hatch prematurely opened, causing the Liberty Bell 7 to quickly fill with water. Astronaut Gus Grissom barely escaped drowning before the capsule sunk to the bottom of the sea. It was not until 1999 that the lost spacecraft was found and lifted from its resting place on the ocean floor, three miles from the water's surface. Visitors to The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered will see the actual 7-foot spacecraft as Gus Grissom left it, as search and recovery expert Curt Newport found it 300 miles off the coast of Florida and as how nearly four decades on the ocean floor have transformed it. Also included in the exhibition are interactives and artifacts pertaining to Liberty Bell 7 and the Mercury Program. The exhibit begins with a journey back in time, where visitors enter through a living room from 1961 that features a video program introduction to Gus Grissom and the Mercury 7 astronauts. As visitors travel through the exhibit, they see a mission control environment, climb in a simulated capsule, attempt to pilot an ROV and much more. Visitors can also climb into a two-person centrifuge training simulator and experience up to two G-forces. The end of the exhibit brings visitors to the actual preserved Liberty Bell 7 capsule with most of its original components. "The Tech is proud to feature an exhibit that truly exemplifies our mission. The Liberty Bell 7 story is inspirational, and shows how technology has played a huge role in the exploration of outer space and the deep sea," says The Tech's President and CEO Peter Giles. "These types of trials and errors of technology have brought us where we are today." A partnership with the USS Hornet, a floating museum in Alameda, will help show visitors the technology involved in rescuing an artifact such as the Liberty Bell 7. The USS Randolph, a similar ship to the USS Hornet, was used for the attempted recovery of Liberty Bell 7 when it returned from orbit in 1961. The USS Hornet was used for the recovery of Apollo 11. Apollo 11 was the craft that carried Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin to the moon on July 20, 1969. A special offer to Tech Members will allow $2 off admission to the USS Hornet Museum during the time of the exhibit. The Discovery Channel is the national corporate sponsor for The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered. Local sponsors for The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered include the USS Hornet Museum and media sponsors KDTV UNIVISION 14 and San Jose Mercury News. The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered will be on display at The Tech Museum of Innovation from October 4, 2001 - January 6, 2002. The Tech Museum of Innovation is a non-profit educational institution that engages people of all ages and backgrounds in exploring and experiencing the technologies affecting their lives and aims to inspire the innovator in everyone. It is located at 201 S. Market St. San Jose, CA 95113-2008. For general information, call (408) 294-TECH or visit www.thetech.org.