The space flight that didn’t happen- The forgotten story of Apollo 1

History of Sorts

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On January 27 1967, U.S. astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee died in a fire aboard the Apollo 1 spacecraft during a launch simulation at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

The Apollo program changed forever , when a flash fire swept through the Apollo 1 command module during a launch rehearsal test. The three men inside perished despite the best efforts of the ground crew. It would take more than 18 months, and extensive redesigns, before NASA sent more men into space.

The launch simulation on January 27, 1967, on pad 34, was a “plugs-out” test to determine whether the spacecraft would operate nominally on (simulated) internal power while detached from all cables and umbilicals.

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Passing this test was essential to making the February 21 launch date. The test was considered non-hazardous because neither the launch vehicle nor the spacecraft was loaded with fuel or cryogenics, and all pyrotechnic systems (explosive bolts) were disabled

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