On This Day…

Apollo 1 Disaster

January 27, 1967

An electrical fire erupts during a simulation on the launch pad, killing astronauts Virgil “Gus” GrissomRoger Chaffee, and Edward White. They were the first U.S. astronauts to die in a spacecraft.
The ignition source of the fire was determined to be electrical, and the fire spread rapidly due to combustible nylon material, and the high pressure, pure oxygen cabin atmosphere. Rescue was prevented by the plug door hatch, which could not be opened against the internal pressure of the cabin.
White was the frst American to walk in space (1965).
Grissom was one of the seven original Mercury astronauts (1959) and the first astronaut to go into space twice.
Chaffee served as capsule communicator (CAPCOM) for the Gemini 3 and Gemini 4 and served as the third-ranking pilot on Apollo 1.