'Worst Day': Remembering the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 1 (Part 2)

The Apollo 1 prime crew consisted of (from right) Commander Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Ed White, and Pilot Roger Chaffee. Photo Credit: NASA

In the windowless blockhouse at Pad 34 at Cape Kennedy, Deke Slayton heard the call of “rookie” astronaut Roger Chaffee and glanced over to a monitor which showed the hatch […]

'Fire in the Cockpit': Remembering the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 1 (Part 1)

The Apollo 1 crew consisted of (from left) Command Pilot Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Ed White, and Pilot Roger Chaffee. Photo Credit: NASA

Five decades ago, this month, one of the worst tragedies in the history of U.S. space exploration unfolded with horrifying suddenness on Pad 34 at Cape Kennedy in Florida. “The […]

'The First Thing I Had Ever Lost': 55 Years Since Gus Grissom's Flight in the Liberty Bell (Part 2)

This was one of the final views of Liberty Bell 7 on 21 July 1961, before it was lost beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Not until 1999, more than three decades after Grissom’s death, would the sunken capsule be returned to the surface. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Fifty-five years ago, […]

'Isn't That Good Enough?' 55 Years Since Gus Grissom's Flight in the Liberty Bell (Part 1)

The white crack on the side of his capsule, paralleling that on the real Liberty Bell, is visible to the left of this pre-launch image of Virgil “Gus” Grissom. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Had Virgil “Gus” Grissom lived longer, wrote Deke Slayton in his autobiography, Deke, he would have been the first […]

The Fortune of John Young: 50 Years Since Gemini 3 (Part 2)

Aboard a recovery helicopter after their splashdown on 23 March 1965, Gus Grissom (left) became the first man to record two space missions and John Young concluded the first flight in one of the most dramatic space careers of all time. Photo Credit: NASA

At just under five hours, the mission of Gemini 3 […]

The Misfortune of Al Shepard: 50 Years Since Gemini 3 (Part 1)

In addition to carrying the equipment of the prime crew, Gemini 3 backups Wally Schirra (third from the right) and Tom Stafford (second from right) saw to it that they fulfilled the mission’s humor requirements. As a result, Gemini 3 would forever come to be known as “The Corned Beef Sandwich Mission.” Photo Credit: […]

Remembering the Life and Legacy of Roger Chaffee on His 80th Birthday

Roger Chaffee (right) was the only rookie member of the Apollo 1 crew, joining Commander Virgil “Gus” Grissom (left) and Senior Pilot Ed White (center). Photo Credit: NASA

Roger Bruce Chaffee—who would have turned 80 today (Sunday, 15 February)—has been out of this world for far longer than he was ever in it. His […]

'Open-Ended': What 1967 Might Have Been

The Apollo 1 crew, pictured during training, would have embarked on an open-ended mission of up to 14 days in duration in February-March 1967. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Figuratively and literally, February is a gloomy month, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere—a four-week period of darkness, plunging temperatures, and poor weather, with the […]

'Fire in the Cockpit': Remembering the Sacrifice of Apollo 1

After the first cry from Roger Chaffee (left), even super-fit Ed White (center) was unable to even fully release the first bolt from the command module’s inner hatch before he was overcome by fumes. The most likely origin of the fire was somewhere beneath the seat of Gus Grissom (right). Photo Credit: NASA

Almost […]

From ‘Greasy Grissom’ to ‘Gruff Gus’: The Story of America’s Second Man in Space (Part 2)

The attempted rescue of the Liberty Bell 7 capsule from the waters of the Atlantic on 21 July 1961. After this image was taken, it would be 38 years—long after Gus Grissom’s death—before the spacecraft was recovered and again saw the light of day. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty-two years ago this very day, a […]