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**3 Astronauts Die in (Apollo 1) Launchpad Fire-Jan. 27, 1967: Sad Day in History

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posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 01:40 PM

1967: Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee are killed on the launch pad when a flash fire engulfs their command module during testing for the first Apollo-Saturn mission. They are the first U.S. astronauts to die in a spacecraft.

The command module, built by North American Aviation, was the prototype for those that would eventually accompany the lunar landers to the moon. Designated CM-012 by NASA, the module was a lot larger than those flown during the Mercury and Gemini programs, and was the first designed for the Saturn 1B booster.

Command module 012 and service module 012 in workstands at the North American Aviation plant, Downey, in 1965.

For a time, the mission called AS-204 had two flight plans. AS-204A, manned by Gus Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee,* was "to verify spacecraft crew operations and CSM subsystems performance for an earth-orbit mission of up to 14 days' duration and to verify the launch vehicle subsystems performance in preparation for subsequent operational Saturn IB missions." The flight would be in the last quarter of 1966 from Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy. AS-204B, on the other hand, would be an unmanned mission with the same objectives (except for crew operations), to be flown only if spacecraft and launch vehicle had not qualified for manned flights. And there were doubts. Gas ingestion in the service module propulsion system in AS-201 and the resulting erratic firing had caused some misgivings, although these had been somewhat allayed by AS-202.50

CM-012 - "Apollo One"- arrives at Kennedy Space Center, 26 August 1966.

Astronauts Grissom (left), Chaffee, and White check the communications headgear in preparation for what was to have been the first manned Apollo flight - Apollo-Saturn 204, scheduled for 21 February 1967

CM-012 was delivered to NASA with 113 significant incomplete planned engineering changes. 623 more engineering orders were made after delivery

The three-man crew for NASA's first manned Apollo space flight (AS-204) died, apparently instantly, when flash fire on January 27 swept their Apollo 1 spacecraft mated to the uprated Saturn 204 vehicle. This accident, killing Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Rodger B. Chaffee, was the worst in the history of the U.S. space program. It occurred at KSC's LC-34 during the first major rehearsal for the February 21 mission.

The fire that killed the Apollo 1 crew on a test launch pad spread so rapidly because the capsule was pressurized with pure O2 but at slightly more than atmospheric pressure, instead of the ⅓ normal pressure that would be used in a mission.

Sources: Main story-
Additional info & Pics: Preparations for the First Manned Apollo Mission
Burn craft info and pic:

Well, I have to admit that I didn't know all of this stuff about Apollo 1. I did a quick search by Apollo 1 on ATS and I didn't see any results. I was surprised.

What a tragic event. I was just 3 at the time so I don't have any rememberance. I am shocked it isn't talked about more. These brave men & women that give their lives for such a great and noble cause should be high lighted in our society. Not the bums/creeps/thugs/ganstarers/murderers etc that the MSM does today.

Case in point, I bet you more American know who Jeffery Dalmer is than any of these 3 brave men. Sad to say I would be one of those-until now.

I hope you enjoy, learn & most importantly-Remember them.

edit on 1/27/2011 by anon72 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 01:55 PM
Those astronauts had some serious balls back then, to voluntarily let themselves become guinea pigs for a budding space program that was trial by error.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 01:58 PM
reply to post by anon72

Tragic day. After that Nasa stopped pressurizing the capsules at 16 psi oxygen content. A cinderblock will burn at that psi and content.

I've been to their memorial. You can almost feel them there.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 01:59 PM
reply to post by anon72

BTW starred and flagged. Thank you for this reminder.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 02:01 PM
reply to post by Jeremiah Johnson

They were definitely men. They knew the chances and odds, and they went ahead anyway.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 02:01 PM
Yes these 3 brave men were pioneers !

Sadly they were murdered by NASA's imcompetence .

Nasa would never do that right ?

"It also includes Operation Dirty Trick, a plot to blame Castro if the 1962 Mercury manned space flight carrying John Glenn crashed, saying: "The objective is to provide irrevocable proof that, should the MERCURY manned orbit flight fail, the fault lies with the Communists et al. Cuba [sic]." It continues, "This to be accomplished by manufacturing various pieces of evidence which would prove electronic interference on the part of the Cubans."

Humanity makes me sick sometimes
edit on 27-1-2011 by seedofchucky because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 02:01 PM
reply to post by mydarkpassenger

Dude-any pics from the memorial? I was going to put one of the plaque but it was all grainy and fuzzy. I plan on visiting NASA-probably after I retire, more to Fla etc.

I wonder if much of it will be left by then?

J.Johnson. I agree with you. Have you ever seen the Russian cans that they went up in?

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 02:08 PM
reply to post by anon72

Yes I have, they were all brave regardless of what country they served and still are. Hopefully one of these years NASA will get it right so they have an almost perfect chance of returning home safely.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 02:18 PM
Thank you for the reminder.


Chronology of the accident

Tomorrow is another bad anniversary.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 02:22 PM
reply to post by Saint Exupery

Wow- that is some report. I will have to look at that tonight.

Thank you for that one.

So I don't miss it-what is tomorrow?

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 04:00 PM
Thanks for the great reminder of some true American heroes. I wasn't alive then but it sure would be nice to have something we could all get behind and be proud of today.
edit on 27-1-2011 by bigern because: grammar

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 04:00 PM
reply to post by anon72

25th Anniversary

Sequence of events

Monday is another bad one.

The Russians remember April 24th and June 29th.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 04:29 PM
There were multiple problems leading to the deaths of the three astronauts. In order to check pressurization, they had to over-pressurize the capsule. Since they had planned to use pure oxygen, the attempt for overpressurization with pure oxygen never occured to anyone to be the equivalent of filling the capsule with dynamite. To provide extra security for the hatch to not blow out en route to the moon, it was created to open inwardly, with the hatch support structure outside of the hatch, causing it to be unable to be opened outward. The extra protective layer of plasticised coating to the electronics wiring and equipment had not yet been applied to the capsule. A number of other defects existed, and some influenced the event, but these were the major ones.

BTW, it was not known as Apollo One until after the deaths of the astronauts. It was actually a test capsule that was never meant to fly in space. After their deaths, it was decided to call it Apollo One to make it seem something other than a test mishap.

During the test, a spark under the control panel ignited the surface conduit, which spread rapidly within a few seconds. The crew called out that they had a fire, and tried to release their seat restraints. The rescue/fire team rushed to the capsule as the flames enveloped the inside of the capsule. However, because the door opened inwardly, the expanding fire caused the internal pressure to rapidly elevate to the point that the outward pressure inside the capsule meant that no one could possibly push that door inward. There had been some early plans for a pyrotechnic array to blast the door open, but that had seemed dangerous, as well as a waste of launch weight. Therefore, the outside crew had to watch while the astronauts tried to crawl around inside, before they succumbed to the extreme heat of the fire.

It was a very bad day.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 06:00 PM
reply to post by Truth1000

BTW, it was not known as Apollo One until after the deaths of the astronauts. It was actually a test capsule that was never meant to fly in space. After their deaths, it was decided to call it Apollo One to make it seem something other than a test mishap.

Wow, I hadn't seen that when I was looking around. Thank you-for that and your post. Great info.

I got all caught up in it. I love doing threads where I get lost in time while looking it up etc.

Truly brave men-we all can agree. Them and the Russians from those days.

I tried to find video/tape etc but nothing but now I can see why.

What was the most sad/odd/weird thing was the 3 of them mock praying (maybe for real deep down?) over a model of the craft that they died in.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 10:10 PM
Great thread Anon72. When it comes to appreciation of space program / astronauts, we can agree. (Political differences aside here OK?) Despite conspiracy regarding the fire, not sure if you are aware of how Gus Grissom's widow/family were shunned after tragedy. Lots of info on net. GG was a vocal critic of safety / communication issues and famously said: "How are we going to get to the Moon if we can't talk between three buildings?"

More here:
edit on 27-1-2011 by kinda kurious because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 11:20 PM
reply to post by kinda kurious

I was going to link this thread to you earlier but I had to run. I thought you might like it.

No, I hadn't heard any of that. What a shame. I will check out your links-good work

I did come across a tribute website for them-I should put that up.

What is flustrating for me as I learn more and more about our Space progams (goods & bad) that not enough people seem to even care. We take it for granted the things the men & women of the Program have done and sacraficed & where our programs could go-if properly funded & managed.

Ufo/Aliens or not, they do there job-facing death at every turn. How many of us sitting at our computers would do that?

I really wish you would thread your own experiences-I know they will just amaze people-ones like me anyway.

I am glad you liked it and added to it.

posted on Jul, 15 2011 @ 01:09 PM
I was a North American Aviation employee in 1966-67 who worked in the Apollo 1 (204) spacecraft doing preflight checkout. I started in Downey and followed 204 to the Cape were I worked in the spacecraft on top of the Saturn 1.
Are there any former NAA employees on this baord who were also there?

posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 03:41 PM
My theory here is that they really did not die. This was a faked accident. Let's assume Apollo is fake which it probably was. What better way to gain the sympathy of the public and show the thing o be real than to have spacemen die? I know this is not conventional thinking even among HB fans, but I suspect it is true.

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