Apollo 1 (AS-204) Fire Collection

On January 27, 1967, a fire broke out at 18:31 EST, in the cockpit of Apollo Command Module 012 while the "Block I" (Earth orbit capable) spacecraft sat atop an unfueled Saturn 1B rocket on launch pad 34 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The system was undergoing a manned test in preparation for the scheduled Apollo 204 mission (now universally referred to as Apollo 1), the first scheduled manned orbital test of an Apollo Block I spacecraft. The three astronauts aboard, Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chaffee, were killed by asphyxiation. In addition to the heartrending loss of life, the tragedy threatened to derail the United States' ambitious program to meet President John F. Kennedy's challenge to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth before the end of the decade.