Apollo 1, the first manned mission in the Apollo Program was undergoing routine tests on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, on January 27, 1967. Suddenly, and without warning, a fire broke out inside the spacecraft, and almost instantly, the three astronauts aboard perished.
After the tragic fire, NASA delayed the Apollo program to take time to add safety features and to take precautions to prevent accidents like that from occurring on similar spacecraft. The fire aboard Apollo 1 started when sparks flew from electric wiring in the spacecraft's systems.
In the book entitled We Seven© 1962, written by the first seven astronauts themselves, Grissom said,
"If my country decided that I was 1 of the better qualified people for this new mission, then I was proud and happy to help out."
Grissom also explained to a NASA psychiatrist that he was aware of the dangers of flight, but he saw no gain in worrying about them. Instead of being anxious about his upcoming space flight, he worried about doing a good job.
Gus Grissom was one of the people who understood the risks involved with anything that deals with progress. He gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life, to pave the way for astronauts to go to the Moon. However, the three astronauts of Apollo 1 did not die in vain.
After the tragedy, NASA took measures to reduce the danger of fire that included the use of noncombustible materials, wherever possible. Scientists modified the circuitry within the Apollo spacecraft, and placed metal troughs over all exposed areas, to avert damage to connected wiring.
Scientists also redesigned the hatch of the spacecraft, enabling it to be unlocked from the inside within five seconds. This would allow the crew to be able to escape within half a minute.