Three men died on this mission when the space shuttle caught on fire.
On Jan. 27, 1967, tragedy struck the Apollo program when 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.
On Jan. 27, 1967, tragedy
struck the Apollo program when 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. Three astronauts,
Lt. Col. Virgil I. Grissom, a veteran of Mercury and Gemini missions;
Lt. Col. Edward H. White, the astronaut who had performed the first
United States extravehicular activity during the Gemini program; and Lt.
Cmdr. Roger B. Chaffee, an astronaut preparing for his first space
flight, died in this tragic accident.
to the NASA Administrator in April 1967 presented the results of the
investigation and made specific recommendations that led to major
modifications and revisions to the Apollo Command Module. 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.
January 27, 1967. Tragedy struck on the launch pad during a preflight test
for Apollo 204 (AS-204),
which was scheduled to be the first Apollo manned mission, and would have
been launched on February 21, 1967. Astronauts Virgil
Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee lost their lives when a fire
swept through the Command Module (CM).
The exhaustive investigation of the fire and extensive reworking of the
CMs postponed any manned launch until NASA officials cleared the CM for
manned flight. Saturn 1B schedules were suspended for nearly a year, and the
launch vehicle that finally bore the designation AS-204
carried a Lunar Module (LM) as the payload, not the Apollo CM. The missions
with Apollo spacecraft aboard had been unofficially known as Apollo
1 and Apollo 2 missions (AS-203
carried only the aerodynamic nose cone). In the spring of 1967, NASA's
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, Dr. George E. Mueller,
announced that the mission originally scheduled for Grissom, White and
Chaffee would be known as Apollo
1, and said that the first Saturn V launch, scheduled for November 1967,
would be known as Apollo
4. The eventual launch of AS-204
became known as the Apollo 5 mission (no missions or flights were ever
designated Apollo 2 and 3).
The second launch of a Saturn V took place on schedule in the early
morning of April 4, 1968. Known as AS-502,
6, the flight was a success, though two first stage engines shut down
prematurely, and the third stage engine failed to re-ignite after reaching
The Apollo program was an American spaceflight endeavor that landed the
first humans on Earth's Moon.
The Apollo program was an American spaceflight endeavor that
landed the first humans on Earth's Moon. Conceived during the presidency of
Dwight D. Eisenhower and conducted by NASA, Apollo began in earnest after
President John F. Kennedy's May 25, 1961 special address to a joint session of
Congress declaring a national goal of "landing a man on the Moon" by the end of
This goal was accomplished with the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969 when
astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon, while Michael
Collins remained in lunar orbit. Five subsequent Apollo missions also landed
astronauts on the Moon, the last in December 1972. In these six Apollo
spaceflights, twelve men walked on the Moon. These are the only times humans
have landed on another celestial body.
The Apollo program ran from 1961 until 1975, and was the US civilian space
agency's third human spaceflight program (following Mercury and Gemini). Apollo
used Apollo spacecraft and Saturn launch vehicles, which were later used for the
Skylab program and the joint American-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. These
subsequent programs are thus often considered part of the Apollo program.
The program was accomplished with only two major setbacks. The first was the
Apollo 1 launch pad fire that resulted in the deaths of astronauts Gus Grissom,
Ed White and Roger Chaffee. The second was an oxygen tank rupture on Apollo 13
during the moonward phase of its journey, which disabled the command spacecraft.
The three astronauts aboard narrowly escaped with their lives, thanks to the
efforts of flight controllers, project engineers, backup crew members and the
skills of the astronauts.
Apollo set major milestones in human spaceflight. It stands alone in sending
manned missions beyond low Earth orbit; Apollo 8 was the first manned spacecraft
to orbit another celestial body, while Apollo 17 marked the last moonwalk and
the last manned mission beyond low Earth orbit. The program spurred advances in
many areas of technology incidental to rocketry and manned spaceflight,
including avionics, telecommunications, and computers. Apollo sparked interest
in many fields of engineering and left many physical facilities and machines
developed for the program as landmarks. Many objects and artifacts from the
program are on display at locations throughout the world, notably in the
Smithsonian's Air and Space Museums.
Unmanned suborbital flight was the first test flight of Saturn 1B and of the
Apollo Command and Service Modules; problems included a fault in the
electrical power system and a 30 percent decrease in pressure to the service
module engine 80 seconds after firing.
never launched: command module destroyed and three astronauts killed on 27
January 1967 by fire in the module during a test exercise - Retroactively,
the mission's name was officially changed to "Apollo 1" after the fire.
Although it was scheduled to be the fourth Apollo mission (and despite the
fact that NASA planned to call the mission AS-204), the flight patch worn by
the three astronauts, which was approved by NASA in June 1966, already
referred to the mission as "Apollo 1"
first flight of lunar module (LM); multiple space tests of LM, no command or
service module flown; no controlled reentry. Used the Saturn 1B originally
slated for the cancelled manned AS-204 ("Apollo 1") mission
severe oscillations during orbital insertion, several engines failing during
flight, successful reentry of command module (though mission parameters for
a 'worst case' reentry scenario could not be achieved)
ambitious mission profile (changed relatively shortly before launch), first
human lunar orbit (no lunar module), first earthrise seen by men and major
publicity success, some minor sleeping and illness issues
mission almost aborted after lightning struck at launch with brief loss of
fuel cells and telemetry; successful landing within walking distance (less
than 200 meters) of theSurveyor
3probe; two EVAs
early shutdown of inboard S-II engine; unrelated oxygen tank rupture in
service module during Earth-Moon transition caused mission to be aborted -
crew took temporary refuge in the lunar module and returned safely to Earth
after a single pass around the Moon.
docking problems, abort switch contamination and delayed landing radar
acquisition all threatened landing; first color video images from the Moon;
first materials science experiments in space; two EVAs
first longer (3 days) stay on Moon, first use of lunar rover to travel total
of 17.25 miles (27.76 km), more extensive geology investigations; 1 lunar
"standup" EVA, 3 lunar surface EVAs plus deep space EVA
malfunction in a backup yaw gimbal servo loop almost aborted landing (and
reduced stay duration in lunar orbit by one day for safety reasons); only
mission to target lunar highlands; malfunction prevented controlled ascent
stage impact after jettison; 3 lunar EVAs plus deep space EVA
last manned landing on the Moon, only mission with a scientist (geologist)
on board; this is also the latest manned moon landing and manned flight
beyond low Earth orbit; 3 lunar EVAs plus deep space EVA
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