(MIAMI.CBSLOCAL) — CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Fifty years after America’s first space tragedy, a relic of the deadly fire that killed three astronauts is going on display.
The scorched Apollo 1 capsule remains locked away in storage. But NASA is offering visitors at Kennedy Space Center a look at the most symbolic part: the hatch that trapped Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee in their burning spacecraft on Jan. 27, 1967.
A flash fire erupted inside the capsule during a countdown rehearsal of the Apollo moon program, with the astronauts atop the rocket at Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 34. A cry came from inside: “Got a fire in the cockpit!” White struggled to open the hatch before quickly being overcome by smoke and fumes, along with his two crewmates. It was over for them in seconds.
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