NASA planned on launching the Apollo 1, the first manned mission of the Apollo manned lunar landing program, on February 21, 1967. That day would never come, however, when a cabin fire during a launch test at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Launch Station killed all three crew members and destroyed the command module on January 27, 1967. Command Pilot Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White II, and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee lost their lives that day, but their deaths were not in vain. A 20 month suspension of Apollo flights followed in order to correct lthal dsign and construction flaws. Less than three years later, the program became the greatest success of the century when Apollo 11 successfully landed on the moon on July 21, 1969. These historical photos from NASA show the heroic crew preparing for the flight and the charred command module after the tragedy.
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Apollo 1 was scheduled to be the first manned mission of the U.S. Apollo manned lunar landing program, with a target launch date of February 21, 1967. A cabin fire during a launch pad test on January 27, 46 years ago today, at Launch Pad 34 at Cape Canaveral killed all three crew members—Command Pilot Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White and PilotRoger B. Chaffee—and destroyed the Command Module. The photo above shows the astronauts at the launch pad 10 days before the fire and below the crew hanging out with the Command Module in a swimming pool while testing it’s water landing equipement. It is a rough week in history for NASA. Tomorrow, January 28th will mark the 27th anniversary of Challenger, and Friday, February 1, will be 10th anniversary of Columbia.