History In The Headlines

45 Years Ago: Apollo 1 Mission Ends in Disaster

By History.com Staff
Forty-five years ago today, three American astronauts assigned to the first Apollo mission died in a fire during pre-launch testing. NASA honored the space pioneers yesterday with its annual Day of Remembrance, which also commemorates the January 28 anniversary of the Challenger accident. “This last week of January, as we do every year, the NASA family honors those who have lost their lives carrying out our missions and pays tribute to their lives and memories,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. “In the face of our greatest accomplishments, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that each time men and women board a spacecraft, their actions carry great risk along with the opportunity for great discoveries and the chance to push the envelope of our human achievement.” Find out more about the Apollo 1 disaster and how the American space program rebounded from the tragedy to put a human on the moon for the first time in history—and to avoid another catastrophe when an explosion threatened Apollo 13.

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Categories: Space