NASA's first space disaster occurred on Jan. 27, 1967, when a fire broke out inside the cockpit of the Apollo 1 spacecraft while it was still on the launch pad undergoing a supposedly routine test. The fire killed veteran astronauts Gus Grissom and Ed White, as well as first-time flyer Roger Chaffee, marking NASA's first fatal space tragedy. The Apollo 1 fire prompted an investigation that led to new safety checks for the Apollo capsules that eventually carried astronauts to the moon and back in the 1960s and 1970s.
(Image: © Karl Tate, SPACE.com Contributor)
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