Hutchinson Liberty Bell 7, the Mercury space capsule that sunk in the Atlantic on July 21, 1961, has returned to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, where it was restored after its retrieval from the ocean in 1999.
For the next 12 weeks, Liberty Bell 7 will be at the Cosmosphere for the popular 6,000-square-foot interactive exhibit, "The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered."
The exhibit opened Saturday, and after a national tour, the museum will be the permanent home of the space capsule piloted by Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom on the second manned flight in NASA's fledgling space program.
Liberty Bell 7 remained in the Atlantic until a recovery expedition funded by the Discovery Channel located the Mercury spacecraft and recovered it 38 years to the date after its launch and loss. It was then taken to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center and restored.
Visitors to "Lost Spacecraft" will be invited to experience the challenge and excitement known to early astronauts and modern-day explorers through the interactive elements of the exhibit. Interactive experiences include flying a Mercury capsule simulate, riding a centrifuge and piloting a remotely operated vehicle.
"Not only do visitors get to see the completely restored spacecraft, but they get to experience the life of an astronaut-in-training in the 1960s and a deep-sea explorer today," said Jeff Ollenburger, Cosmosphere president and chief executive officer.