The tragic Apollo 1 fire was 55 years ago today

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Fifty-five years ago on this date, astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee died during a test of their Apollo spacecraft on the launch pad.

Grissom had flown the Mercury 4 suborbital flight in July 1962 to become the 2nd American in space, and commanded the Gemini 3 flight in March 1965.

White was the first American to walk in space on his Gemini 4 flight in June 1965.

Chaffee was scheduled to make his first space flight just a few weeks later.

I remember this really well even though I was only in Grade 4. I read Grissom's excellent autobiography a few years later. He had only completed it a few weeks before the fire. At 40 he was the first Mercury astronaut to die. John Glenn was the last just a few years ago - he was around 95.
 
Apollo 1? I can't recall any Apollo mission before #7.
Apollo 7 was the first manned mission, in October 1968. It duplicated what Grissom's mission would have done. The 20-month gap was required to rework the command module to reduce the fire risk. Apollo 1 was renamed such after the fire. I think it was something like "Apollo 204" at the time.
 
My mom was working for Boeing at the Cape when this happened. Actually my grandparents both worked for Boeing also on the Apollo program. She said it was really weird because none of the "dads" got home from work that day and were all at work with a total news silence until they released the statement.

They ended up all moving here in August of 1968 to work for Aero Spacelines on the Guppy program. Well my mom ended up working for Raytheon for 43 years.
 
Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN has the most alumni as astronauts. Many were also residents of Indiana. Grissom was both.


There is a museum for Grissom and Apollo 1 at the entrance to the Spring Mill State Park near Mitchell, IN. Mitchell was his hometown.

 
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Im a young'in for this crowd.. I was in grade school for challenger explosion.

I remember exactly where I was.. and how fast they turned them off when it went kaboom. 36 years ago tomorrow.
 
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Im a young'in for this crowd.. I was in grade school for challenger explosion.

I remember exactly where I was.. and how fast they turned them off when it went kaboom. 36 years ago tomorrow.

Yep, sitting at home because school was either snow delayed or canceled that day. Remember watching it live on TV
 
Im a young'in for this crowd.. I was in grade school for challenger explosion.

I remember exactly where I was.. and how fast they turned them off when it went kaboom. 36 years ago tomorrow.

I was working 4 - midnight as a tech at a telecom-equipment manufacturing plant. Walked over to Woolco in the morning to buy a snow shovel, and was surprised to find the store deserted. Then I saw that everyone was at the back of the store, clustered around the TVs ...
 
Im a young'in for this crowd.. I was in grade school for challenger explosion.

I remember exactly where I was.. and how fast they turned them off when it went kaboom. 36 years ago tomorrow.

Was sitting in sickbay with strep throat watching tv when ABC Special Report came on the air. :(
 
Apollo 1? I can't recall any Apollo mission before #7.

That was the first planned mission, but they apparently went to unmanned test missions as a stopgap. NASA only lists the manned missions here.


However, there were the unmanned Apollo 4/5/6 missions.

 
Some might not know but that Saturn 5 rocket was a huge beast. Watching those on liftoff was always a special treat.
 
Some might not know but that Saturn 5 rocket was a huge beast. Watching those on liftoff was always a special treat.
Agreed, they were incredible - the S1's (first stage's) five F1 engines generated 7.5M lbs of thrust, and yet given how slowly the Saturn V rose from the pad, the loaded weight must have been close to that. But those engines burned fuel so very quickly that the power-to-weight ratio improved very quickly.

The Apollo 13 movie did a very good job of depicting a Saturn V launch.
 
Some might not know but that Saturn 5 rocket was a huge beast. Watching those on liftoff was always a special treat.
I would have killed to see one! The Artemis should be pretty spectacular with 4 mains and the shuttle's SRB's. I think it is slightly taller than a Saturn 5. But the Saturn 5's F1 engines with all that power pouring out of them had to be a glorious sight unlike anything anyone will ever see again.
 
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