Status: Deceased; Active 1963-1967. Born: 1935-02-15. Died: 1967-01-27. Birth Place: Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Educated Purdue; AFIT.
Official NASA Biography as of June 2016:ROGER B. CHAFFEE (LIEUTENANT COMMANDER, USN)
NASA ASTRONAUT (DECEASED)
PERSONAL DATA: Born February 15, 1935 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Died January 27, 1967, at NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida, in the Apollo spacecraft fire. He is survived by his wife Martha and two children.
EDUCATION: Chaffee graduated from Central High School, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering, Purdue University in 1957.
ORGANIZATIONS: Member, Tau Beta Pi, National Engineering Society, Sigma Gamma Tau, and Phi Kappa Sigma.
AWARDS: Posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
SPECIAL HONORS: Awarded the United States Navy Air Medal.
EXPERIENCE: Chaffee, a United States Navy Lieutenant Commander, entered the Navy in 1957.
He served as safety officer and quality control officer for Heavy Photographic Squadron 62 at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida.
In January 1963, he entered the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to work on a Master of Science Degree in Reliability Engineering.
He logged more than 2,300 hours flying time, including more than 2,000 hours in jet aircraft.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Chaffee was one of the third group of astronauts selected by NASA in October 1963. In addition to participating in the overall training program, he was also tasked with working on flight control communications systems, instrumentation systems, and attitude and translation control systems in the Apollo Branch of the Astronaut office. On March 21, 1966, he was selected as one of the pilots for the AS-204 mission, the first 3-man Apollo flight.
Lieutenant Commander Chaffee died on January 27, 1967, in the Apollo spacecraft flash fire during a launch pad test at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
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.
NASA announced that it would select 10 to 15 new astronauts to begin training in October. Civilian applications were due July 1; those from military personnel, prescreened by their services, were due July 15. New selection criteria reduced the maximum age to 35 years and eliminated the requirement for test pilot certifications.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
The first manned flight of the Apollo CSM, the Apollo C category mission, was planned for the last quarter of 1966. Numerous problems with the Apollo Block I spacecraft resulted in a flight delay to February 1967. The crew of Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee, was killed in a fire while testing their capsule on the pad on 27 January 1967, still weeks away from launch. The designation AS-204 was used by NASA for the flight at the time; the designation Apollo 1 was applied retroactively at the request of Grissom's widow.
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.