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Lost Spacecraft: The Search for Liberty Bell 7: Apogee Books Space Series 28 Hardcover – October 1, 2002

5 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Curt Newport is a pioneer in the development and operation of Remotely Operated Vehicles and works as a consultant to various ocean related organizations. He has participated in numerous high-profile undersea operations such as the salvage of Air India Flight 182, the Space Shuttle Challenger, TWA Flight 800, and the recovery of the Liberty Bell 7 Mercury spacecraft, the deepest commercial salvage operation in history. 
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Product Details

  • Series: Apogee Books Space Series
  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc.; Hardcover w/CD edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1896522882
  • ISBN-13: 978-1896522883
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,444,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I worked for McDonnell on Gemini and for Boeing on Apollo (too young for Mercury), so I naturally read every space history book I can get my hands on. This was definitely one of the best I have ever read.
I usually wind up with a list of technical and/or historical errors whenever I read space history books, but I only noticed a few typos in "Lost Spacecraft".
For someone who was not personally involved in Mercury, Mr. Newport certainly did an excellent job of describing how all the capsule systems worked.
I especially enjoyed the photos, most of which I had never seen before.
This book is worth 10 stars.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the amazing story of the search and recovery of Liberty Bell 7, Gus Grissom's 1961 Mercury spacecraft that sank to the bottom of the Atlantic ocean in an accidental sinking after the mission, while the capsule was still floating in the recovery area. Curt Newport is a veteran of deep sea underwater work and he gives readers here a page-turning account of the hardships of working with remote vehicles more than three miles under the surface of the ocean where pressures are 7000 pounds per square inch and more. He also covers the man Gus Grissom, who many considered the top astronaut at the time, including his childhood and later. The Mercury capsule (yes, back then they were called capsules, not spacecraft) is covered in detail, it's construction and operation. Also, the trajectory that this 1961 Mercury-Redstone sub-orbital mission travelled is discussed to some length as it's eventual underwater location is dependent on this. The technology of underwater vehicles is covered in addition, to give readers an appreciation of the difficulty inherent in this type of work. Curt Newport has included many, many, excellent photographs in this book, well done here. The writing style is clear and flowing, a joy to read. This is also one man's story of determination and resilience in the face of negative odds.
On a personal note, when I was six years old in 1961 and living in St. Louis County, just a few miles from where this Mercury spacecraft was built, I remember my father coming home from work (he worked at McDonnell Aircraft as an engineer and perhaps did a bit of work on this very spacecraft) and said "it sank to the bottom of the ocean", referring to the sinking of the Liberty Bell 7 that occurred that day.
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By A Customer on November 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
On 21 July, 1961, after a near perfect flight, The Mercury space capsule, Liberty Bell 7 landed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. During the recovery process, the escape hatch blew prematurely. the capsule filled with water and sank, nearly taking the pilot, Gus Grissom, with it. Thus began one of the great controversies and mysteries of the United States space program The author explores the events leading to the incident and examines possible theories concerning the premature hatch release.
Newport was uniquely qualified to lead the expedition to recover Liberty Bell 7. He was a pioneer in the developement and operation of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and an experienced veteran of underwater operations all over the world. His fascination with the mystery concerning the lost space capsule led to 14 years of research into the flight, probable location, condition and possible methods of recovery.
The highlight of the book is the detailed description of the search for Liberty Bell 7, and its subsequent recovery from a depth of nearly 3 miles. The narrative reads more like pulp fiction than a factual rendering of events, with moments of elation followed by despair and ultimate victory. This is a must read for space and underwater exploration buffs alike. I only wish that the team had been given the opportunity to recover the hatch cover, surely, one of the targets in the vicinity of the capsule, and a key element in resolving the mystery and controversy concerning the premature hatch release.
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Format: Hardcover
Curt does an outstanding job in taking a technical undertaking and making it interesting and easy to understand. There are some great early pictures of Gus, some that has not been seen. He has very interesting insights from some of Gus' childhood friends and those who were close to him during the Mercury missions. It was like I was right there all the way throught the flight and the recovery operations.
It is a must read for those interested in deep sea recovery operations or in Gus' MR-4, Liberty Bell-7 flight.
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Format: Hardcover
"Lost Spacecraft: The Search For Liberty Bell 7" is a wonderfully constructed book. Curt Newport shares the trials and tribulations of his personal quest to find Liberty Bell 7 against a rich and detailed backdrop of the US space program and Gus Grissom's own life. He explains the difficulties of finding an object the size of a phone booth, under three miles of water, in a poorly defined area. The reader is taken along on deep-sea explorations to the Titanic, as well as for the serendipitous discovery and recovery of Liberty Bell 7 at the proverbial last minute. This is a gripping and exciting read for anyone who is interested in those who push the technological envelope, here in the extremes of outer space and the unforgiving depths of the oceans.
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