50th anniversary of Apollo 1 tragedy

By NASA/photographer unknown - NASA [1] Great Images in NASA Description, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=111185

Apollo 1 crew – By NASA/photographer unknown – NASA [1] Great Images in NASA Description, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=111185

Today, 50 years ago tragedy struck Florida and the American space program. Less than five years after John Glenn orbited the earth and more than two years before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched down on the moon, Apollo 1 caught fire and killed three astronauts at Cape Canaveral (which was still known as Cape Kennedy at the time).

The Apollo 1 tragedy shook America’s confidence just as Vietnam was being revealed as the unwinnable quagmire it was and stopped manned US missions into space for well over a year.

Gus Grissom was chosen as the commander of the flight –   one of the original “Mercury 7” astronauts, Grissom was one of the leading figures in the space program at the time of Apollo 1. Also killed in the tragedy were senior pilot Ed White and pilot Roger Chafee, the later of which was making his first spaceflight.

Here is a good feature from NPR today on the tragedy

Also the Washington Post 

 

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