New NASA exhibit honors Apollo 1 crew lost in tragic accident

Watch live: NASA Day of Remembrance

The tribute also displays for the first time the three-section hatch from the Apollo 1 capsule that caught fire at Launch Complex 34 on January 27, 1967. Though the astronauts fought to get the door open, they were overcome by the smoke and fume, dying inside the aircraft.

Friday, NASA marked its 50th anniversary of the fatal Apollo launch-pad fire with the first public display of the spaceship that was engulfed in flames.

"Although the fire took place across the river on Launch Pad 34, their story didn't end there and their legacy lives on today", said Sheryl Chaffee, daughter of Roger Chaffee.

Two of the total three that passed away in the Apollo 1 have their graves there. The 14 lost shuttle astronauts also were recognized Thursday, along with seven other USA astronauts killed in plane crashes. Grissom was one of the original Mercury astronauts and the second American to fly in space. Bill Phillips, an engineer with Jacobs Engineering who has worked for NASA for about 12 years, barricaded himself inside the building after managing to sneak a revolver past security at the sprawling space center campus, police and NASA officials said. Called the "Day of remembrance", it will feature a ceremony of laying wreaths.

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The small handheld maneuvering thruster that Ed White II used to steer himself outside his Gemini capsule during the first American spacewalk features prominently in the display case for the West Point graduate whose athletic prowess almost equaled his flying acumen. The Apollo 1 tragedy was the first time that NASA lost a crew aboard a spacecraft, albeit on the ground.

NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston held a commemoration for employees at the Astronaut Memorial Grove to honor Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia crews, followed by astronaut Edgar Mitchell's memorial tree planting ceremony on Tuesday.

Apollo 1 suffered cabin fire during a launch rehearsal test on January 27, 1967, killing all three crew members, Command Pilot Virgil I.

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