(HOUSTON) February 1, 2003 – The family of Astronaut Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, the commander of the Apollo 1 spacecraft that died during a fire on the launch pad on January 27, 1967, is extending their "heart felt condolences" to the families of the astronauts who died today during re-entry of the space shuttle Columbia.
Mrs. Betty Grissom, Captain Scott Grissom and Mark Grissom, know exactly what these families are going through "and want to make sure that these parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, and most of all, children, know that our hearts go out to them after this tragic event."
"My husband, like these other Columbia astronauts, made the ultimate sacrifice for science, space exploration, and their respective countries," said Betty Grissom, "and I know Gus will be there to greet them, wherever that may be."
Captain Scott Grissom, now an airline pilot for FedEx, recalls the death of his father clearly, and believes the United States should continue its manned mission in space. "My dad was on record for wanting the mission to continue in the event of a catastrophe," Captain Grissom said.
A few weeks before the fire in the Apollo 1 spacecraft, Commander Gus Grissom said "If we die, we want people to accept it. We're in a risky business, and we hope if anything happens to us, it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life."
Betty Grissom said "I also hope that people of all nations, will put aside our differences today in a moment of silence, and say something special in their own way for each of these astronauts and their families today."
Captain Scott Grissom
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