Chaffee, Dr Roger Bruce
(1935-1967) American pilot astronaut, 1963-1967. Killed in Apollo 1 fire on launch pad.
Educated Purdue; AFIT.
Official NASA Biography
NAME: Roger B. Chaffee, Lieutenant Commander USN
BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born February 15, 1935, in Grand Rapids, Michigan
EDUCATION: Chaffee graduated High School from Central High in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1953. He attended Purdue University and received a BS in aeronautical engineering in 1957. In January, 1963, he entered the Air Force Institute of Technology to work on an MS in engineering.
MARITAL STATUS: Survived by his wife, Martha and two children, Sheryl and Stephen.
EXPERIENCE: A Navy ROTC student, Chaffee went on active duty in 1957 and after training in Florida and Texas became a pilot. In March 1960, he was assigned to the Heavy Photographic Squadron 62 at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, and flew many photo-reconaissance missions over Cuba during the October 1962 missile crisis.
NASA BACKGROUND: Chaffee was one of the 14 astronauts selected in October 1963. After completing basic astronaut training, he worked on deep space communications and the Apollo spacescraft development. He was named to the Apollo 1 crew in March 1966.
Lieutenant Commander Roger Bruce Chaffee was killed in a flash fire aboard the Apollo 1 spacecraft on January 27, 1967 at Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 34.
Chaffee, Virgial "Gus" Grissom and Edward White were training for a planned 16-day Apollo mission scheduled for launch on February 14, 1967. It would have been his first spaceflight. At the time of his death, Chaffee had logged approximately 2300 hours of flying time, 2000 of those hours in jets.
Birth Place: Grand Rapids, Michigan.
More... - Chronology...
Astronaut Category of persons, applied to those trained for spaceflight outside of Russia and China. More...
NASA Group 3 - 1963 Requirement: crew members for planned Apollo missions (then planned as 4 Saturn I missions in 1965, 2-4 Saturn IB missions in 1966, 6 Saturn V missions from 1967). Nickname: The Fourteen. More...
Apollo 204 Crew: Chaffee, Grissom, White. The first manned flight of the Apollo CSM, the Apollo C category mission. Crew killed in a fire while testing their capsule on the pad on 27 January 1967, still weeks away from launch. Set back Apollo program by 18 months. Backup crew: McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart, Schirra,
Eisele, Cunningham. More...
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
USN American agency overseeing development of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. USN Joint Task Force 7, USA. More...
NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
1963 June 5 -
1963 October 17 -
- NASA Astronaut Training Group 3 selected. - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Aldrin; Anders; Bassett; Bean; Cernan; Chaffee; Collins; Cunningham; Eisele; Freeman; Gordon; Schweickart; Scott; Williams, Clifton. The group was selected to provide crew members for planned Apollo missions (then planned as 4 Saturn I missions in 1965, 2-4 Saturn IB missions in 1966, 6 Saturn V missions from 1967).. Qualifications: Qualified jet pilot with minimum 1,000 flight-hours, bachleor's degree in engineering or physical or biological sciences, under 35 years old, under 183 cm height, excellent health. US citizen.. There were 271 applications, 200 from civilians (including two women) and 71 from military pilots (including two African-Americans). President Kennedy pushed for NASA to appoint a black astronaut, but neither of the applicants met the test pilot requirements. Bobby Kennedy arranged for one of these, USAF Captain Edward Dwight, to be enrolled in the USAF Test Pilot school. He graduated, and then had the necessary qualifications. He was 28 years old, an engineering school graduate, and a B-57 bomber command pilot with 2,000 hours flying time. However NASA did not find him as well qualified as other candidates, and he was not among the 32 chosen for final physical and mental tests.
From these 32, the final 14 were selected. Of them, four would die (two in a T-38 crash, one in a car crash, and one in the Apollo 204 ground fire) before flying in space. All of the ten remaining would fly in the Apollo program.
1963 October 18 -
- Selection of 14 astronauts for Projects Gemini and Apollo - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Aldrin; Anders; Bassett; Bean; Cernan; Chaffee; Collins; Cunningham; Eisele; Freeman; Gordon; Schweickart; Scott; Williams, Clifton. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Gemini. NASA announced the selection of 14 astronauts for Projects Gemini and Apollo, bringing to 30 the total number of American spacemen. They were Maj. Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., Capt. William A. Anders, Capt. Charles A. Bassett II, Capt. Michael Collins, Capt. Donn F. Eisele, Capt. Theodore C. Freeman, and Capt. David R. Scott of the Air Force; Lt. Cdr. Richard F. Gordon, Jr., Lt. Alan L. Bean, Lt. Eugene A. Cernan, and Lt. Roger B. Chaffee of the Navy; Capt. Clifton C. Williams, Jr., of the Marine Corps; R. Walter Cunningham, research scientist for the Rand Corporation; and Russell L. Schweickart, research scientist for MIT.
1964 February 3 -
1965 February 16 -
- Specialty areas for 13 astronauts not assigned to Gemini - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Aldrin; Anders; Bassett; Bean; Cernan; Chaffee; Collins; Cunningham; Eisele; Freeman; Gordon; Schweickart; Scott; Williams, Clifton. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; CSM ECS; LM Communications; LM ECS; LM Guidance. MSC announced a realignment of specialty areas for the 13 astronauts not assigned to forthcoming Gemini missions (GT 3 through 5) or to strictly administrative positions:
- Operations and Training
- Edwin E. Aldrin, branch chief - mission planning
Charles A. Bassett - operations handbooks, training, and simulators
Alan L. Bean - recovery systems
Michael Collins - pressure suits and extravehicular activity
David R. Scott - mission planning and guidance and navigation
Clifton C. Williams - range operations, deep space instrumentation, and crew safety.
- Project Apollo
- Richard F. Gordon, branch chief - overall astronaut activities in Apollo area and liaison for CSM development
Donn F. Eisele - CSM and LEM
William A. Anders - environmental control system and radiation and thermal systems
Eugene A. Cernan - boosters, spacecraft propulsion, and the Agena stage
Roger B. Chaffee - communications, flight controls, and docking
R. Walter Cunningham - electrical and sequential systems and non-flight experiments
Russell L. Schweickart - in-flight experiments and future programs.
1965 June 14-15 -
- Apollo LEM mockup used in mobility tests of the reconfigured portable life support system (PLSS) - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Chaffee; Eisele. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; A7L. Using a LEM mockup at Grumman, and with the assistance of astronauts Roger B. Chaffee and Donn F. Eisele, engineers from Hamilton Standard performed mobility tests of the reconfigured portable life support system (PLSS). Crew Systems Division (CSD) reported that the reshaped back pack did not hinder entering or leaving the spacecraft; and while some interference problems were inescapable when the PLSSs were worn inside the spacecraft for any period of time, CSD believed that damage could be prevented through training and by limiting movement by the crew. Grumman, however, contended that the newer PLSSs had "serious implications" for mobility inside the LEM.
1966 October 19 -
: Saturn I
. Launch Vehicle
: Saturn I
1967 January 27 -
: Cape Canaveral
. LV Family
: Saturn I
. Launch Vehicle
: Saturn IB
1967 January 31 -
- Funeral services for the Apollo 204 crewmen - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Grissom; White; Chaffee. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 204. Funeral services were held for the Apollo crewmen who died in the January 27 spacecraft 012 (Apollo 204 mission) flash fire at Cape Kennedy. All three were buried with full military honors: Virgil I. Grissom (Lt. Col., USAF), and Roger B. Chaffee (Lt. Cdr., USN), in Arlington, Va., National Cemetery; and Edward H. White II (Lt. Col., USAF), at West Point, N.Y. Memorial services had been held in Houston January 29 and 30.
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