In order to better withstand the high gravitational forces of launch and reentry, each astronaut in Project Mercury, the first U.S. human spaceflight program, had form-fitting fiberglass couches cast for his body for both training and the actual flight. This couch, made for training, was built for Virgil Grissom, who flew the second Mercury mission (a suborbital flight) in 1961. He also flew on the first crewed Gemini mission, Gemini 3, in 1965. Grissom died in the tragic Apollo 1 fire in January 1967.
McDonnell Aircraft made this artifact and the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center) donated it to NASM in 1972.
Transferred from NASA