Crew: Virgil Grissom (Command Pilot), Edward H. White (Senior Pilot), Roger Chaffee (Pilot)
Command and Service Module: CSM-012
Lunar Module: N/A
Launch Vehicle: Saturn 1B, AS-204
Scheduled Launch Date: February 21, 1967
Scheduled Launch Site: Cape Kennedy, Pad 34
Primary Mission: Test launch operations, ground tracking and control facilities, and Apollo-Saturn launch assembly.
Mission Highlights: On January 27, 1967, during launch rehearsal for the then-named AS-204 mission, a fire broke out in the Command Module with the three astronauts fully suited and strapped into their benches. All three men died in the blaze. An investigation into the cause of the fire found that a short circuit had ignited some wiring insulation and, under the pure oxygen and 16 psi pressure in the capsule, the fire got out of control quickly. Additionally, it was noted that the hatch—which, on this early design of the Command Module, opened inward—may have contributed to the astronauts’ inability to escape. A review board consisting of engineers and astronauts came up with a list of recommended changes and the Apollo Command Module was redesigned to reduce the risk of fire and make it easier for a crew to escape the capsule in an emergency. The films in this exhibit that cover Apollo 1 confine their coverage to explaining the recommendations of the review board and the changes made to the spacecraft.