Apollo 1 (AS 204)

NASA-Archiv: Botton Apollo 1 Astronauten:

Virgil Grissom
Edward White
Roger Chaffee

A tragic accident overshadowed the American space-travel on 1-27-1967. The astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee came from cape Kennedy in your Apollo capsule on the launching pad 34 in the fire around the life.

NASA-Archiv: Gruppenbild

What had happened? At 13.00 hours (American east time), the astronauts climbed the Apollo capsule for a routine exercise at which a countdown was simulated. These exercises served saturn 1 B as a preparation for the first start of a manned Apollo spaceship lining up on 2-21-1967 on one. Grissom heard a peculiar smell in the oxygen atmosphere 20 minutes later. The countdown was interrupted and the crew examined a sample of the oxygen. Since the analysis didn't lead to any result, the countdown was continued. There suddenly were problems with the speaking connection between crew and start team 4 hours and 40 minutes after the getting in. For this reason the countdown was interrupted again but continued already soon again although you didn't find at this instant of the faults. The simulated start started after the getting in at 18.30 hours east time 5 hours and 30 minutes.

n the next minute the oxygen consumption of the astronauts suddenly increased. White's cardiac activity also went steeply up. The oxygen advertisement showed the highest value on the scale. It was 18.31 hours. Fire shouted a voice (probably Chaffee) ", 5 seconds later "fire in the spaceship I smell fire and one heard another 2 seconds later", read us out, we burn ". The inside pressure of the space capsule rose so highly that fire and smoke penetrated to the outside. Till the first men of the start team reached the space capsule, 5 minutes passed. However, it was too late. The astronauts suffocated in the flames.

NASA-Archiv: Ausgebrannte Apollo-Kapsel They breathed in a pure oxygen atmosphere. A spark sufficed now to put the inside of the space capsule into fire. Of course it was clear to the scientists that pure oxygen full of dangers was. However, the inside pressure of a spaceship up to 1/3 of the normal pressure knows at pure oxygen as one knows it on the earth you reduce and oxygen the only one is which man to this needs to breathe. A mixture of oxygen and nitrogen would increase the inside pressure of the Apollo capsule so far that the strength and with that the weight must be greater. An oxygen helium mixture would be open although oxygen nitrogen atmosphere can unite a similar effect like pure oxygen but the transitional phase of this mixture only slowly on the normal one be carried out. The immediate opens a space capsule if necessary, were also then fatal for the passengers.

NASA-Archiv: Ausgebrannte Apollo-Kapsel

However, there were also more possible causes which the commission of inquiry called by president Jonson took to day.
faults were -- found among the electric conductions.
Short circuits were stated.
the entry hatch couldn't be opened fast enough.
the radio contact to the spaceship was unsatisfactory.

The first start of an Apollo spaceship was provided for 2-21-1967. The fourth flight of one would have been for saturn 1 B rocket. For this reason one also would have called the spaceship Apollo 4. However, the NASA decided in honor of the men to describe this spaceship as an Apollo 1. After this accident it still should last for almost 2 years now till Walter Schirra, Walter Canningham and Donn Eisele ventured with Apollo 7 to the earth orbit.



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