“The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered,” a new interactive
6,000-square-foot traveling exhibit of the 1961 Mercury space capsule
recovered in July 1999 during a Discovery Channel expedition, begins
its three-year journey across the nation on June 17, 2000 at Kennedy
Space Center Visitor Complex in Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

The second manned space mission for the United States, Liberty
Bell 7 was flown in 1961 by astronaut and U.S. Air Force Captain
Virgil “Gus” Grissom on a mission that lasted 15 minutes and 37
seconds before sinking to the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, where it
lay undetected for nearly four decades. Now, the newly restored
capsule will travel with this new Discovery Channel-sponsored exhibit
to science centers and museums in 12 cities throughout the United
States (see attached exhibit schedule).

Created in partnership with BBH, Inc. of San Antonio, TX, “Liberty
Bell 7 Recovered” will take science center and museum visitors on a
virtual ride with Grissom 118 miles into space and then 3 miles below
the ocean’s surface where the capsule sat untouched. “Liberty Bell 7
Recovered” will engage visitors in astronaut training, spacecraft
technology and launch sequences circa 1961. It then fast-forwards to
1999 to follow the exciting events surrounding the rescue of the
spacecraft and personal triumph by deep-sea search and recovery expert
Curt Newport and his expedition team.

“Discovery Channel is proud to be a part of this next step with
the Liberty Bell 7 space capsule and to present this historical
exhibit to families across the country,” says Mike Quattrone,
executive vice president and general manager, Discovery Channel.
“Those who remembered the period when the world stood still to watch a
Mercury launch will marvel at the memories the exhibit evokes, while
people of all ages will be fascinated with this engaging piece of

Interactive Elements Of the Exhibit

Several interactive stations make this museum experience on early
space flight something to remember.

  • What’s it like to fly into space? A capsule simulator invites
    visitors to climb in the pilot’s seat of this tiny spacecraft and
    perform a pre-flight task.

  • Less than half of the test launches of early rockets were
    successful. A rocket interactive allows visitors to look through a
    periscope and select from a series of rocket launch videos and
    discover each rocket’s fate.

  • Early astronauts were tested to determine their response to
    powerful G-forces experienced during the mission. Adults and children
    alike will climb into a real-life centrifuge and test themselves
    against the grit of astronauts in a main attraction in the exhibit.

  • Through an interactive joystick control, visitors will maneuver
    a small helicopter model and attempt to recover a miniature version of
    the Liberty Bell 7.

Parents will be able to experience this exciting treasure hunt
with their children.

  • The exhibit offers a remarkable re-creation of the recovery
    ship Ocean Project’s deck, where they can peek into the recovery
    team’s daily log as it appeared on the Internet during the expedition.

  • Another interactive feature allows visitors to conduct a
    virtual interview with Newport to discover why he pursued this
    adventure and what technology was necessary to achieve success.

  • The amazing interactive Remote Operated Vehicle element,
    complete with robot arms and cameras, invites kids and parents to test
    their underwater piloting skills just like the explorers who found the
    Liberty Bell 7 on the ocean floor… more than 3 miles below the

  • Via computer, visitors can use custom software that was
    developed to help identify sonar images of unknown objects miles
    beneath the ocean’s surface. This high-tech software creates a video
    image from the rough sonar data. The visitor may select one of a
    number of images within a grid and then discover the object’s


The story of Liberty Bell 7 and the adventure surrounding its
resurrection are part trip down memory lane, part lesson in
patriotism, a salute to technological achievement and an affirmation
of the strength of the human spirit. “Liberty Bell 7 Recovered”
plunges visitors into the Cold War era in which the United States
competed with the Soviet Union in a race to the moon and contrasts
that environment with the state-of-the-art technology that in 1999
enabled explorers to raise the capsule.

Most significantly, the Liberty Bell 7 space capsule itself will
be displayed. This symbol of American determination and ingenuity
greets the public after 38 years under water. Visitors see the
spacecraft as Grissom left it and as Newport and his team found it
after nearly four decades on the ocean floor.

The exhibit allows visitors to enter into lifelike environments
complete with the sights and sounds associated with:

  • The era. A family living room circa 1961, just like the ones in
    which millions of Americans sat riveted to their televisions as
    astronauts rocketed into space, welcomes visitors as they enter. They
    experience the sights, sounds and sociopolitical climate of the time
    via video, vintage publications and period artifacts.

  • The flight of the Liberty Bell 7, featuring actual audio and
    video accounts of Grissom and the other astronauts of the Mercury
    Program and NASA footage.

  • Mission Control as it appeared in 1961.
  • A splashdown theater complete with a partial replica of the
    Sikorsky recovery helicopter, whose window provides a view of the
    actual attempt to rescue the capsule.

  • A replica of the deck of the recovery expedition ship, Ocean
    Project, where visitors will see the technology that made recovery

  • Listening, Looking, Locating and Lifting kiosks that take
    visitors on a step-by-step tour of the technology that allowed the
    recovery team to pinpoint the capsule’s location and raise it from its
    38-year resting place on the ocean floor.

  • A tribute to Grissom, the man who many called “the astronaut’s

Discovery Channel is one of the United States’ two largest cable
television networks, serving 78 million households across the nation
with the finest in informative entertainment. Discovery Networks, a
division of Discovery Communications, Inc., operates and manages
Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery
Health Channel, Discovery People, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery
Science Channel, Discovery Home & Leisure Channel, Discovery
Civilization Channel, Discovery Wings Channel, and Discovery en
Espanol. The unit also markets and distributes BBC America. The
restoration was conducted by The Smithsonian affiliated Kansas
Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, which will serve
as the permanent home for the capsule after its three-year nationwide

For more information visit www.discovery.com or for more
information on BBH, Inc. visit www.bbhinc.net.

The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered

Exhibit Schedule

The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered, an interactive,
traveling exhibit from Discovery Channel, will be presented at the
following venues (dates and venues are subject to change):

June 17, 2000 – September 17, 2000
Kennedy Space Center

Visitor Complex

Kennedy Space Center, Fla

October 7, 2000 – January 7, 2001
The Children’s Museum

Indianapolis, IN

January 27, 2001 – June 3, 2001
Liberty Science Center

Jersey City, NJ

June 23, 2001 – September 9, 2001
The St. Louis Science Center

St. Louis, MO

September 29, 2001 – January 6, 2002
The Tech Museum

San Jose, CA

January 26, 2002 – March 24, 2002
Boston Museum of Science

Boston, MA

April 13, 2002 – June 16, 2002
Kirkpatrick Science &

Air Museum (Omniplex)

Oklahoma City, OK

June 29, 2002 – September 15, 2002
California Science Center

Los Angeles, CA

October 5, 2002 – January 5, 2003
Denver Museum of Natural


Denver, CO

February 4, 2003 – May 26, 2003

Kansas City, MO

June 14, 2003 – September 7, 2003
Museum of Science & History

Ft. Worth, TX

Smithsonian Institution

Washington, DC


Lynette Nelson
BBH Exhibits, Inc.
Lauren Leff/Amy Barone/Laura Goldberg
Trylon Communications
Jennifer Sweeney
Discovery Channel