back to article Pipe down, Jeff. You've only gone where Gus Grissom went before, 60 years ago today

Somewhat lost in the hubbub over Jeff Bezos' jaunt into space is the 60th anniversary of Virgil "Gus" Grissom's suborbital flight aboard Liberty Bell 7. The mission was the second Mercury capsule crewed by a human and followed Alan Shepard's flight on 5 May 1961. Both missions were suborbital vertical launches atop a Mercury- …

  1. 45RPM Silver badge

    Sociopathic billionaire in egregious self-aggrandisement shock horror.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

      Although I am not a fan of his business practices his flight is an achievement and he should be allowed to celebrate. Hopefully it will result in cheaper access to earth orbit and, eventually, travel beyond that.

      I hope that there is healthy competition from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and others.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

        He achieved what others achieved over 50 years ago!

        1. alain williams Silver badge

          Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

          Does that mean that my son should not be be pleased and deserving of congratulations when he wrote his first "hello world" program ? That was first done many decades ago.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

            If your kid outsourced the writing of the program, it only printed "Hello" and the kid went on global media to explain how he had reimagined the dynamic of programming innovation for a new future - then yes the kid needs a slap

        2. HammerOn1024

          Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

          He achieved it with his own money, no one else's. No tax dollars, like SpaceX, for example. He deserves his moment and all further accolades as he continues to USE HIS OWN MONEY.

          1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

            Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

            > He achieved it with his own money

            He probably paid for it using the money he kept by exploiting legal but morality questionable tax avoidance strategies.

          2. grndkntrl

            Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

            If it wasn't for SpaceX, then even more of your precious tax dollars would've been wasted on pork barrel cost-plus job programs with no end in sight, and no coherent vision for the future.

            Also SpaceX have significant funding from sources outside of US Government agencies.

            In addition, while Jeff Who spaffed $500 million on a mega-yacht (which has an additional separate super-yacht just for landing his helicopter on it), Elon Musk sold all his other homes, and now lives in a small bungalow in Boca Chica right next to the Starship production site.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

              But with cost-plus contracts the managers at Boeing used to have a Gulfstream IV. Now they've had to sell it and get a Gulfstream III because people like Musk chose to make launches cheap.

              The Gulfstream III doesn't even have a remote control for its surround-sound DVD system. Still think reusable rockets are no big deal?

          3. tfb Silver badge
            Alien

            Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

            No tax dollars, eh? Remind me how much tax Amazon pay again?

        3. SundogUK Silver badge

          Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

          He achieved with his own money what the US government achieved over 50 years ago using tax money taken from its citizens with the threat of violence.

          FIFY

      2. Bubba Von Braun
        Holmes

        Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

        Healthy Competition.. I don't think so..

        Blue Origin

        16 Sub-Orbital flights total (New Shepard)

        Single capsule, blunt body re-entry from mach4 speeds..

        New Glenn unflown still to get off the drawing boards

        1 Airframe and Motor

        1 Deal with ULA to use their motor

        SpaceX

        126 Orbital flights on Falcon 9

        10 flights on one booster!!!

        Dragon cargo capsule

        Crew Dragon crew capsule

        Both capsules capable of orbital re-entry

        Flown 6 humans to orbit

        Falcon Heavy - Largest capacity booster in production.

        Star-ship under development

        Multiple Engines (Merlin, Raptor, Draco, Super Draco)

        And Virgin Galactic.. cant even make the Karman line.

        At best a novelty for the rich with money to burn.. Know where I would be putting my money

        BvB

      3. Imhotep Silver badge

        Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

        I don't really think this is competition for SpaceX. Their Crew Dragon plans are much more ambitious.

      4. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

        I am a fan of his business practices... and his flight is an achievement and he should be allowed to celebrate. Hopefully it will result in cheaper access to earth orbit and, eventually, travel beyond that.

        1. nematoad Silver badge

          Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

          "I am a fan of his business practices...."

          Obviously not an employee then.

      5. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Do allow Bezos his moment of glory

        The flight is an achievment. His flight though? What exactly did he do, other than happen to be rich enough to pay other people to do all the work? Grissom, along with all the other early astronauts, was a highly trained professional doing a complicated job as part of a program to do things no-one had ever done before. Bezos was ballast.

    2. Imhotep Silver badge

      Perhaps it it possible to just celebrate someone's achievement without dragging our personal animus in to every discussion.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. nematoad Silver badge
    Happy

    Snappy reply.

    "Grissom himself would go on to fly the first crewed Gemini mission in 1965 (with the amusing call sign Molly Brown..."

    Yes, named after a 1964 film called "The Unsinkable Molly Brown". A sharp shot at his critics over the Liberty Bell 7 disaster.

    1. keith_w Bronze badge

      Re: Snappy reply.

      And here I thought it was for the survivor of the Titanic, not the fictionalized movie of her life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Brown

  4. Marki Mark
    Go

    How Small

    Always amazes me how small the capsules are.

    Saw a mercury and Gemini capsule in the space and flight museum in Washington, no idea how the Astronauts managed to fit their massive balls inside!

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: How Small

      I saw a Soyuz capsule a few years ago. My first reaction was "that would fit in the back of a Transit van"

      1. WanderingHaggis

        Re: How Small

        Having seem how tiny the Apollo capsule was I would have lost it during the voyage. Three of them in what looks just a little bigger than the back seat of a Cortina. The trick cyclists did a fantastic job of selecting the right people.

  5. karlkarl Silver badge

    I don't see if as celebrating him. I see it as a celebration that humanity is getting comfortable with space enough to use it for marketing, advertising and tourism.

    Of course by humanity I mean 0.001% of humanity. However this was always going to be the case. It has been that same case since milling sodding bread!

  6. Mark 85 Silver badge

    The days of steely eyed rocket men are probably nearly over. Back then, much was unknown and unpredictable. Today, it's almost "ho-hum" with well tested spacecraft built on the shoulders of the early launches.

    With NASA launches, we all held our breaths during the launch back then. With commercial guys....we blow it off. I think both of the commercial guys got entirely too much applause and credit. Innovation... they've heard of it. Their flights are for status (they get an astronaut badge) only.and maybe some rights to willy waving.

    All things considered.. space is an adventure and the return on investment is knowledge, not bragging rights.

  7. werdsmith Silver badge

    I don't think doing something with the national effort of a wealthy nation and being motivated by paranoia about a competing ideology is the same as going to space by your own enterprise as a group of 4 having a laugh and wearing boiler suits and being able to reuse your steam-emitting booster which landed upright on a pad. Grissom didn't do that. Bezos acknowledges Shepard.

  8. Rufus McDufus

    X-15

    Don't forget the North American X-15 which, 58 years ago piloted by Joseph Walker. flew to maximum heights of 105.9 and 107.9 km respectively, reaching speeds over 3,700mph.

    1. David 164

      Re: X-15

      with a single test pilot, much harder to do it with 2 pilots and 4 guests.

  9. tfb Silver badge
    Alien

    A sense of scale

    I think a good way of seeing the magnitude of Bezos' achievement is this. On the 17th December 1903 the Wright brothers flew for a few tens of seconds: on 21st January 1976 Concorde's commercial flights began, carrying up to 120 fare-paying passengers at more than twice the speed of sound. On 21st July 1961, Gus Grissom made the second US suborbital flight: on 20th July 2021 Jeff Bezos did ... the same thing, only a few days after a slightly less annoying very rich person, both of them apparently with the aim of selling experiences to other very rich people,

    Well done: this is progress indeed.

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