Friday, January 27, 2012

This Day in Airpower History: NASA's Apollo 1 Tragedy

Each day on the AFA Facebook Page, we give a "Today in Airpower History" fact. Though the heritage and history of the Air Force is rich with content, we wanted to elaborate on one of them.

On Friday, January 27, 1967, a routine pre-launch test for NASA's Apollo 1 turned fatal when a fire ripped through the spacecraft's crew cabin, claiming the lives of Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.  A flash fire occurred in command module 012 during a launch pad test of the Apollo/Saturn space vehicle being prepared for the first piloted flight, the AS-204 mission.

Following the tragedy, a seven-member board conducted a comprehensive investigation to pinpoint the cause of the fire. The final report The report presented the results of the investigation and made specific recommendations that led to major design and engineering modifications, and revisions to test planning, test discipline, manufacturing processes and procedures, and quality control. 

With these changes, the overall safety of the command and service module and the lunar module was increased substantially. The AS-204 mission was redesignated Apollo I in honor of the crew. 

For more information about this tragedy:

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