My biography of the American astronaut Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom, will be released by Purdue University Press in June 2016.
My thesis challenges the prevailing view of Gus Grissom as a “hard luck” astronaut or the “lost astronaut.” He was neither, and knew at every step in his flying career where he was going and how he would get there. The meticulous engineering test pilot calculated the risks and attempted on each of his space flights to minimize them.
The odds–statistical probability in a “crash program” to reach the moon before the Soviets–eventually caught up with Gus Grissom. He nevertheless believed that the rewards were worth the risk.
As the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire approaches, a tragedy that claimed the lives of Grissom and his crew, it is time to reassess the pioneering astronaut’s life and career and the enduring contributions he made to the history of human space exploration.
As my publisher and I prepare for the release of Calculated Risk, I’ll provide periodic updates here, including an image of the book’s cover.
America is in need of heroes. Gus Grissom was an authentic risk taker and a hero who helped humanity reach another world.