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New NASA exhibit honors Apollo 1 crew lost in tragic accident

New NASA exhibit honors Apollo 1 crew lost in tragic accident

The Apollo 1 hatch that locked Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee in a burning spacecraft will be put on display at the Kennedy Space Center on the 50 anniversary of the fire, which occurred in 1967.

On the 50th anniversary of a fatal launch pad fire that killed three pioneering astronauts, "Ad Astra Per Aspera - A Rough Road Leads to the Stars" was dedicated Friday at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

With Apollo 1 and with other spacecrafts, NASA prepared for the landing on the moon.

"We can't forget our fallen heroes - and they are heroes", said Lightfoot. The tribute highlights the lives and careers of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White II and Roger Chaffee who were lost during the fire. "Although on that January day they lost their lives across the river on Complex 34 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, their story did not end there and their legacy lives on today". On display for the first time is the hatch from the Apollo 1 capsule that caught fire, trapping the astronauts inside. A version of the hatch after it was redesigned is also showcased as an example of improvements NASA made throughout the agency and to the Apollo spacecraft that would later carry astronauts to the moon.

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Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins addresses guests at Kennedy Space Center's Day of Remembrance. White was the first American to perform a spacewalk.

"Yes, Apollo 1 did cause three deaths, but I believe it saved more than three later", he said.

"We hope that people take away [from this exhibit] the message that space flight is hard, and that NASA had to learn from these tragedies in order to make spaceflight safer for future generations", Curie said. It is also to pay tributes to the astronauts of the Shuttle Columbia, who died on February 1, 2003, when the spaceship broke apart as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere.

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