Friday, January 28, 2011

Remembering Apollo 1

The Apollo 1 crew on January 17, 1967. Left to right: Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.

Yesterday was the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire that claimed the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.

Largely unknown to the public is a memorial ceremony held each year at Launch Complex 34, where the tragedy occurred. Because access to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is restricted, only those with a badge or other authorization can get to the site.

The memorial begins at 6:00 PM EST, with the lighting of three candles that symbolize the lives of the three astronauts. At 6:31 PM EST, the time of the fire, the candles are extinguished.

Betty Grissom and members of the Grissom family attended, as did a member of the Chaffee family. No member of the White family attended, although I'm told they attended in past years.

Click here to view a copy of the memorial program. You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the document.

Today is the 25th anniversary of the STS-51L Challenger accident. February 1 is the eighth anniversary of the STS-107 Columbia tragedy. In a world where there are few heroes left, our fallen astronauts should always be remembered because they sacrificed their future for ours.


  1. Thanks Stephen. Looking through the program was an emotional experience.

  2. Hi,
    I looked you up in the GAL here at KSC but there are 2 Stephen C Smith's. I don't see any contact info. for you here on this page either...Got an email?

  3. You can e-mail me at