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On This Date 45 Years Ago:
‘FIRE IN THE SPACECRAFT!’
Relaxing supine in contour couches in a newly minted spacecraft, the three astronauts seemed safe as men watching television in a living room. Then at 6:31 p.m. EST it happened. “Fire in the spacecraft!” an astronaut shouted over the communications hookup. On the TV monitor, the men in the blockhouse simultaneously saw the capsule obscured in a flash of fire and smoke. It was over in an instant. The atmosphere in the cabin was pure, 100 per cent oxygen. With a great whoosh, like the sound of an oven being lit, the pure 02 in the cabin made every combustible item in the ship burn with super intensity. Death for all three astronauts was instantaneous- either by incineration or asphyxiation.
Newsweek February 6, 1967
This happened on January 27th, 1967—45 years ago today. The dead: Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. May they rest in space.