We remember them (Space History leading up to my point)

We began today history in the 1940s. World War two has ended, Europe is in ruins. The East and West began to divide Europe. The Soviets have taken countries for their land creating the “Eastern Bloc”, the United States is supporting the British and “Western Bloc”. As countries are dived up from World War Two German Nazi Scientist are also divided up. Some go to the Communist Soviets while other’s go to the United States, with each side having these scientist a new era of races have begun, with the help from Scientist, Nazi Germany has been able launch their V-2 pass the “Kármán line” the line that separates us from with Space.

The real question is who will be able to get to space first and orbit the earth, the East or West? As both sides rush to become the first the reality became real on October 4th 1957.

The United State's Reaction

It's Called Sputnik! - YouTube

The Soviets won the first part of the race. This initially kicking off the Space Race. The man known as the “Designer” designed the R-7 Semyorka.

The United States began to work on Project Vanguard, to launch their first satellite, unfortunately Vanguard TV3 did not make it off the ground.

While the United States was not the first to send a satellite into space, why not the first man? The United States began accepting Test Pilots from the United States Air Force to become “Astronauts”. Would the West beat the East and send a man into space?

April 12th 1961

On 12th April those famous words were sent back “Preliminary stage… intermediate… main… lift off! We wish you a good flight. Everything is all right” The Soviets have yet one the second race of the Space War, sending the first man into space along with the first orbit. Colonel Yuri Gagarin launched into space on Vostok 1. Once again the East have beaten the United States.

The United States First manned Flights: Mercury

The United States began the Mercury program to send a man into Space. Seven Americans were named to fly into space:
CMDR Scott Carpenter (US Navy)
COL Gordon Cooper (US Air Force)
COL John Glenn (US Marines)
LT Col Gus Grissom (US Air Force)
CAPT Wally Schirra (US Navy)
RADM Alan Sheppard (US Navy)
MAJ Deke Slayton (US Air Force)

These seven men would be the first American’s to fly into space. Gus Grissom became the second pilot to fly the Mercury 7th known as the “Liberty Bell” Gus spent 15 minutes 37 seconds in space. This was Gus’ first flight into space. Gus would fly the Gemini 3 after Alan Sheppard got sick. Gus flew with John Young on this mission circling the earth three times spending a total of 4 hours, 52 minutes and 31 seconds. At this time Gus has flown over 5 hours in Space.

Gemini Program

The Gemini Program was America’s second manned operation. The following pilots were manned for this program.
COL Gordon Cooper (US Air Force)
LT Col Gus Grissom (US Air Force)
CAPT Wally Schirra (US Navy)
LT (JG) Neil Armstrong (US Navy at this time working as a civilian)
COL Frank Borman (US Air Force)
CAPT Pete Conrad (US Navy)
CAPT Jim Lovell (US Navy who would later command the Apollo 13)
BG James McDivitt (US Air Force)
LT GEN Thomas Stafford (US Air Force)
LT Col Ed White (US Air Force)
CAPT John Young (US Navy)
COL Buzz Aldrin (US Air Force)
CAPT Gene Cernan (US Navy)
MAJ GEN Michael Collins (US Air Force)
CAPT Richard Gordon (US Navy)
COL David Scott (US Navy)

Gus flew Gemini 3, the first manned Gemini mission. This was the 17th world human spaceflight including eight Soviet manned missions. On June 3rth 1965 Ed White, and James McDivitt launched for a four day mission. Flying over 1,300,000 nautical miles. Ed White became the First American to do a Space Walk. Ed spent 23 minutes in space floating around.

The Apollo Program

President John F Kennedy stunned the world on May 25th 1961 while addressing the Government of the United States “First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” Sadly President Kennedy would not see this take place as he was killed., six years before Apollo 11 would arrive to the Moon.

Majority of the crew from the Gemini pilots joined the Apollo Program.
Gus Grissom, Alan Sheppard, and Wally Schirra.

The second group known as “The New Nine” which had Neil Armstrong, Frank Borman, Pete Conrad, Jim Lovell, James McDivitt, Elliott See (CMDR US Navy Reserve), Thomas Stafford, Ed White and John Young.

Group 3 had,
Buzz Aldrin, William Anders (MAJ Gen US Air Force Reserves), Charles Bassett (MAJ US Air Force), Alan Bean (CAPT US Navy), Gene Cernan, Roger Chaffee (LT CMDR US Navy), Michael Collins, Walter Cunningham, (COL US Marines Reserve), Donn Eisele, (COL US Air Force), Theordore Freeman (CAPT US Air Force). Richard Gordon, Rusty Schweickart (US Air Force), David Scott, and Clifton Williams (MAJ US Marines).

Group 4 had
Harrison Schmitt.

Group 5 had,
Vance Brand (US Marines/US Air Guard), John Bull (LT CMDR US Navy), Gerald Carr (COL US Marines), Joe Engle (MAJ GEN US Air Force), Ronald Evans, (CAPT US Navy), Edwards Givens (MAJ US Air Force), Fred Haise (CAPT US Air Force), James Irwin (COL US Air Force), Don Lind (CMDR US Navy Reserves), Jack Lousma (COL US Marines), Ken Mattingly (RADM (2 star) US Navy), Bruce MaCandless II (CAPT US Navy), Edgar Mitchell, (CAPT US Navy), William Pouge (COL US Air Force), Stuart Roosa (COL US Air Force), Jack Swigert, (CAPT US Air Force), Paul Weitz (CAPT US Navy), Alfred Worden, (COL US Air Force).

The Apollo program first non manned launch took place on February 26th 1966. AS201 successfully sub orbited the earth for 30 minutes. AS202 also was launched and was consider a success.

That Faithful day of remembering them.

January 27th 1967 almost a year after the first launch of the Saturn V space ship. Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee began preflighting the Apollo One which was expected to take place 21st February 1967.


Their mission was to launch and fly in Earth’s low orbit. At 1300 Gus, Ed and Roger entered the command module in their fully pressurized suits. The three were strapped down into their seats, hooked to the spaceships oxygen and communications. Right away Gus noticed an odd oder in the air circulating through his suit which he compared to “sour buttermilk”. Due to this the simulated program was held at 1320 to investigate what could of caused this. No cause of the odor could be found, and the countdown was resumed at 14:42 Local.
At 14:45 the spaceship hatch was secured, After the hatches were sealed the module was pressurized to 16.7 PSI with pure oxygen. During this time there was a few problems, one being a stuck microphone, which communicated with the Operations Department, and Complex 34 blockhouse control room. The poor communications led Gus to comment saying “How are we going to get to the Moon if we can’t talk between two or three buildings?” The simulated countdown was held again at 17:40 while attempts were made to troubleshoot the communications problem. All countdown functions up to the simulated internal power transfer had been successfully completed by 18:20, but at 18:30 the count remained on hold at T minus 10 minutes.
During this time the crew members were running through their checklist. The AC Bus 2 voltage increased for a moment, nine seconds later Gus yelled over the comms “Hey! Fire!” this was followed by two seconds of scuffling sounds through Grissom’s open microphone. This was immediately followed at 6:31:06.2 by Roger saying, “[I’ve, or We’ve] got a fire in the cockpit” After 6.8 seconds of silence, a second communication took place, it’s not exact what it’s said but most agree it’s the following phrases:
“They’re fighting a bad fire—Let’s get out …Open 'er up”
“We’ve got a bad fire—Let’s get out …We’re burning up”, or
“I’m reporting a bad fire …I’m getting out …” This transmission lasted 5.0 seconds and ended with a cry of pain…

According to the official report, the report found several places of ignition. They determined that the fire most likely started near the floor in the lower left section of the cabin, close to the Environmental Control Unit. It spread from the left wall of the cabin to the right, with the floor being affected only briefly. The United States would carry on from this devastating blow, to end up beating the Soviets at landing a man on the moon.

At the end of it’s Program the Apollo successfully landed six times, having a total of twelve people walking on the moon. The program spent more then 70 hours on the moon. The Apollo would later continue on creating the Skylab. Out of all the Apollo Missions only two of the flights had been consider Failures, Apollo 1 and Apollo 13.

We remember Gus, Ed and Roger who tragically lost their lives to help us reach somewhere no man had ever been or has been since the last Apollo flight.


Love the amount of detail in it. Just to be nitpicky I wouldn’t call Apollo 13 a failure. We got the crew back safely and we got a lot of data out of the mission. It’s a fine line with manned spaceflight on what a successful flight is, you could even call STS-107 a complete success because it completed all the scientific objectives but nothing came back in one piece.

Reason Apollo 1 was a failure was not just the spark but due to the fact the environment was full of oxygen.

You kinda really under-did gemini program, such as Gemini 6, 7 and 8.


Did the Apollo 13 successfully do it’s mission?

One of the many reasons why the fire burned, but not the primary ignition according to findings. The Fire was started due to several electrical arcs. NASA was unable to conclusively identify a single ignition source. They determined that the fire most likely started near the floor in the lower left section of the cabin, close to the Environmental Control Unit.
Now the reason for the fire being so intense and spreading so quickly is due to burning pure oxygen.

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It was considered a success by Jim Lovell because the astronauts were returned to the Earth safely…

Regardless of what started the fire, it would not have burned so badly if they had not had a pure oxygen atmosphere. Pure oxygen only place in a rocket is in the fuel tank

NASA Officials have said it was a failure since it did not reach it’s intended mission, landing on the moon.

Correct - If Pure Oxygen was not in the cabin it probably would have not burned as bad as it did, now the start of the fire according to the official findings said there was several eletrical arcs, NASA Was not able to find a single ignition of which one caused it. Though they believed the fire started near the floor near the ECU.

From NASA Apollo Mission Finding.


The fire in Apollo 204 was most probably brought about by some minor malfunction or failure of equipment or wire insulation. This failure, which most likely will never be positively identified, initiated a sequence of events that culminated in the conflagration.

A great deal of effort has been expended in an attempt to find this specific initiator. Although unsuccessful in this search, this effort has produced a fairly good understanding of the types of things that may have been the initiator and the types of things that probably could not have been the initiator.

Electrostatic discharge, spontaneous combustion of flammable material, mechanically produced heat by machinery and heat from the impact of a struck object have been eliminated as reasonable possibilities of ignition of the fire. The flow of oxygen through orifices or metering valves can create heat through the excitation of resonating frequencies in the gas. However, a thorough examination of the hardware and evaluation of recorded performance of the equipment eliminates the energy of flowing oxygen as a possible initiator.

The most obvious source of energy needed to initiate the fire existed in the spacecraft’s power distribution system. Current carrying wires were distributed throughout every major region of the Command Module. The most likely ways in which electrical power can initiate a fire are the following:

  1. Through malfunction of the equipment being powered which in turn ignites or initiates a fire in nearby combustibles.
  2. Overload in the conductor resulting from shorts in equipment or wiring. This overload will cause the conductor to overheat and ignite nearby combustibles (Enclosure 26).
  3. Electric arcs that are created when the insulation is defeated between power carrying conductors and the spacecraft structure or equipment."


On the Apollo One this was not the cause, according to NASA the cabin pressurized with pure oxygen at the nominal launch level of 16.7 psi. Which was common both in Mercury and Gemini projects. There were other incidents where when pure oxygen was pumped a fire began causing it to spread quickly. Both the US and Soviets had incidents like this. Valentin Bondarenko died due to a fire in a 15-day low-pressure endurance experiment. The cause was when he threw a cotton ball that was attached to him off landing on a hot plate he was using for tea that caught on fire.

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