January 27th, 2014 By Pedro FernandezSan Francisco, CA- When I was growing up it was the space program, NASA, National Aeronautics & Space Administration that provided the most compelling “Must See TV.” From Alan Sheppard’s first foray into space in 1961 aboard a Mercury capsule, to Edward White’s first space walk from a Gemini capsule, space was truly the “New Frontier.”
RUSH TO MOON CAUSED UNNECESSARY DEATH
On this day in 1967, the aforementioned Edward White, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, and Roger Chaffee, the crew of Apollo I died when a fire engulfed their spacecraft as they practiced on the ground in Florida. Having radio problems on the ground between the cockpit and the NASA control center, Grissom is heard saying shortly before the fire. “How can you get us to the moon when we can’t talk to one another on the ground.”
Grissom was the second American in space, White made the first space walk and Chaffee, a rookie astronaut, was the U2 pilot that spotted the Russian misssiles and brought us to the brink of destruction as the Military Joint Chiefs of Staff head Curtis Lemay proposed a plan to President Kennedy for a “Surprise nuclear attack on Russia.” The flip side was Lemay knew we might lose 40 million Americans.
To me, these three men are truly American heroes.