National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Fire in the Cockpit

The Apollo 1 Tragedy

A seminal event in the history of human spaceflight occurred on the evening of Jan. 27, 1967, at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) when a fire ignited inside the Apollo 204 spacecraft during ground-test activities. The 100 percent oxygen atmosphere, flammable materials and a suspected electrical short created a fire which quickly became an inferno. Virgil Grissom, Edward White II and Roger Chaffee (the prime crewmembers for Apollo mission AS- 204, later designated Apollo 1) perished in the flames before the hatch could be opened.