Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-three years ago today, July 21, 1961, NASA astronaut Gus Grissom* splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean after a sub-orbital space flight but unfortunately his spacecraft, "Liberty Bell 7", sank during the recovery process.
The flight, which had lasted more than 15 minutes, ended on a scary note as the emergency explosive bolts misfired and blew the hatch open. Grissom was able to escape to safety despite the fact that his spacesuit filled with water.
Attempts to retrieve the "Liberty Bell 7" by helicopter were unsuccessful.
Gus Grissom was the second American astronaut to fly in space and later became the first of the Mercury 7 to do so twice.
President John F. Kennedy watched live television coverage at the White House.
Dayton, Tennessee (JFK+50) Rhea County High School science teacher and coach, John Thomas Scopes, was found guilty 89 years ago today, July 21, 1925, of violating Tennessee's Butler Act here in Dayton.
The Butler Act, passed earlier in the year, provided that the teaching of the theory of evolution was illegal in the public schools of the state of Tennessee.
The prosecution of the Scopes case was assisted by three time Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan who was also a religious fundamentalist.
The defense, sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union, was provided by Clarence Darrow.
Despite being found guilty, Scopes was fined only $100 and the fine was never paid. Upon appeal, the guilty plea was reversed due to a technicality.
The Butler Act remained on the statute books of Tennessee until 1967.