Published On: Mon, Sep 25th, 2023
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Bone-chilling audio resurfaces from space capsule in Apollo 1 disaster | Science | News

A horrifying audio clip from inside the doomed has resurfaced more than 50 years after the event.

Apollo 1 astronauts Virgil I. ‘Gus’ Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chaffee lost their lives when a fire erupted in the cockpit during a launch rehearsal.

It has since become one of the most infamous space race disasters, with the incident occurring as rivals the and competed to achieve spaceflight superiority over one another.

The fire broke out at Cape Kennedy Air Force Station in , on January 27, 1967, two years before the US put a man on the moon for the first time in history.

The three astronauts were conducting a countdown simulation when a fire started in the cockpit of the Saturn IB launch vessel AS-204.

The harrowing audio clip relives the moment Chaffee noticed what was happening, shouting “fire!” before the blaze began to spread in the cabin.

Chaffee goes on to shout: “We’ve got a fire in the cockpit. Let’s get out. We’re burning up.”

His final words were followed by screams as the astronauts perished in the sealed cockpit.

It is believed the fire started underneath a seat in the vessel, which was air tight and so tightly sealed they were unable to free themselves in time.

It has been alleged that the astronauts had raised concerns over the safety of the vessel, with the three posing for a photograph in which they were praying in front of a model of the module.

In a statement, said: “At 6:31 p.m., a flash fire broke out inside the cabin.

“The astronauts, in vain, attempted to open the inner hatch, while the pad crew valiantly worked to open the outer two hatches, their attempts hampered by dense smoke and heat.

“By the time they opened the hatches, the crew had already perished.”

With the incident taking place against the backdrop of the , even space rivals in Russia paid tribute to the dead.

Moscow’s space agency said at the time that they “deeply grieved at the news of the tragedy at Cape Kennedy.”

Even though the disaster took place 55 years ago, still pays tribute to Chaffee, Grissom and White on the anniversary each year, holding a ceremony in their honour.

In 2021, NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida unveiled a new Apollo 1 tribute in its visitor complex at the Apollo/Saturn V Centre.

There have been numerous space travel disasters since 1967: most notable are the 1986 Challenger tragedy, which exploded shortly after take off killing all seven on board, and the 2003 Columbia disaster, when the space shuttle broke into pieces on its return voyage to earth, killing another seven astronauts.

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