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Nasa’s First Program: Apollo 1

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of case study
  3. Lessons learned
    Evaluations and recommendations
  4. Conclusion
  5. Reference


The first Apollo 1 named AS-204 was the first mission of the American Apollo program and it will be the first mission to land on the moon. Arranged as the primary low-Earth circle trial of the Apollo order and administration module propelled by the group on February 21, 1967, the mission never streamed; 34 lodge flames amid the practice test at the Kennedy Point Air Force Base dispatch focus on January 27 Three team individuals kicked the bucket – instructing pilot Virgil I.’Gus’ Grissom, senior pilot Ed Wright and pilot Roger B. Chaffee were destroyed by the command module (CM). The name of the Apollo 1 selected by the crew was officially retired by NASA on April 24, 1967, to commemorate them. The purpose of the report is that we need to learn from that failure experience and figured out what we need to improve for a better future until we achieve success. The background of the mission is Grissom announced that he intends to keep his aircraft in orbit for a full 14 days. The newspaper article published on August 4, 1966, was called ‘Apollo 1’. The CM-012 arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on August 26 and marked NAA’s Apollo One on its packaging. In October 1966, NASA announced that the flight would carry a small TV camera from the command module site. The camera can also be used to allow the flight controller to monitor the spacecraft dashboard in flight. All manned Apollo missions have a TV camera.

Grissom’s staff was approved in June 1966 and designed a mission patch called Apollo 1. The center of the design depicts a command and service module that flies over the southeastern United States and has a prominent point (launch point) in Florida. Looking at the moon from a distance symbolizes the ultimate goal of the plan. The name of the yellow border is the mission and the astronaut, while the other border is the stars and stripes, set with gold. The badge was designed by the staff and North American airline employee Alan Stevens completed the work. Apollo plans to change forever on January 27, 1967. During this period, during the launch rehearsal test, the flame swept the Apollo 1 command module. Although the staff made great efforts, there were still three astronauts who died. It takes a long time for NASA to get more people into space and make large-scale redesigns.

The three astronauts that died in this failure are unforgettable in people’s minds. Apollo 1 Commander Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom is an Air Force veteran of the Korean War. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Edwin is an air force lieutenant colonel. He was the first American to walk in space on the No. 4 Gemini in 1965. Roger Chaffee is an experienced naval lieutenant commander who joined the program in 1963.

Overview of case study

The accident occurred during the plug comprehensive test. The purpose of this test is to bring all spacecraft systems and operating procedures as close as possible to the flight configuration and verify the system capabilities in the simulated launch. The test began at 12:55 GMT on January 27, 1967. After testing the initial system, the crew entered the command module at 18:00 GMT, scheduled to take place at 18:20 GMT, and collected oxygen samples from the system. It is scheduled to resume at 19:42 GMT and start incubation and subsequent oxygen cleaning at 19:45 GMT. It was later determined that the smell was not related to fire. Communication difficulty and it is collected around 22:40 GMT to solve the problem. This problem included a microphone that could not be turned off by the crew. Since communication is allowed, various final countdown functions are still performed during the hold. “At 23:20 GMT, all final countdown functions complete the transformation to the simulated fuel cell, and the count remains at T-10 minutes, waiting to resolve communication problems.” according to the research the reason that cause the fire due to these factors:

  1. The capsule is pressurized with an oxygen atmosphere.
  2. Flammable materials are widely distributed in the engine room.
  3. Fragile wiring that carries the power of a spacecraft.
  4. Flammable pipes carry flammable and corrosive coolants.
  5. The regulations for the crew to escape are insufficient.
  6. Insufficient reserves for rescue or medical assistance.

Although the committee was unable to finalize the specific sponsor of the Apollo 204 fire, it determined the conditions that led to the disaster. After NASA determined these problems, the Commission resolved how these conditions existed. The Commission concluded that the Apollo team failed to pay not sufficient attention to certain details, such as the safety issues, and the commitment to space travel was equally important. NASA surveys show that there are many deficiencies in design, engineering, manufacturing, and quality control. Safety changes were also made at Launch Complex 34. These included structural changes to the White Room for the new quick-opening spacecraft hatch, improved firefighting equipment, emergency egress routes, emergency access to the spacecraft, purging of all electrical equipment in the White Room with nitrogen, installation of a hand-held water hose and a large exhaust fan in the White Room to draw smoke and fumes out, fire-resistant paint, relocation of certain structural members to provide easier access to the spacecraft and faster egress, the addition of a water spray system to cool the launch escape system (the solid propellants could be ignited by extreme heat), and the installation of additional water spray systems along the egress route from the spacecraft to ground level.

Lessons learned

After the Apollo 1 accident, the Apollo Review Committee conducted a thorough investigation, and the test conditions at the time of the accident were “very dangerous”. However, before the accident, NASA did not determine that the test was very stubborn and dangerous. Therefore, for this test, neither the established nor the strict plan nor adequate safety precautions were observed. The number and location of combustibles in the command module are not strictly limited and controlled. In such an emergency, the crew cannot quickly exit the command module or establish a safety regime for ground support personnel outside the spacecraft. Assist the astronauts. Emergency equipment is not in the ‘white room’ around the Apollo command module, nor is there an emergency fire and medical rescue team, resulting in an accident. Tests that were not performed at the time of the accident were considered dangerous because the fire required an ignition source, combustible materials, and oxygen, and NASA considered that necessary and sufficient measures had been taken to prevent the fire.

From the report of the committee and the testimony of the committee, it can be seen that the accident was a complete accident and temporary negligence; although the fire hazard was recorded in a pure oxygen environment, NASA and the contractor were not fully prepared. . The committee can only conclude that NASA has had successful experience in previous tests. Too little stress can lead to overconfidence and complacency. The Apollo 1 accident was a tragic event in the country’s space program. As a result, NASA conducted a comprehensive analysis and review of all aspects of the Apollo program. As a result, many areas have been improved. Many improvements have been made in the design, operation, management, and procedures of the Apollo system. NASA will improve the spacecraft and booster systems. The NASA committee hopes that the rest of the plan will be implemented in a more detailed plan unless there is no surprise. The total impact of the Apollo accident on the Apollo program is unclear. While continuing to pay close attention to the Apollo program, NASA’s committee will pay special attention to the impact of the accident on planned time and cost, as well as the effectiveness of NASA’s management and operational changes over the past few months. It is important that learn from the fault and summarize the past experience and make a great improvements.

Evaluations and recommendations

I think the most important step to success is to understand how can we Take risks and pay the price. If there is no risk, there is definitely no gain. No matter which field you gain some form of success, you must be willing to lay the foundation for progress in failure. Think about those who have experienced failures and how to get good returns, we should be willing to pay for the risks. What else can we do? The maxim we get from failure is real. These experiences are designed to let you know and do better next time. Think about what we are doing, you can do better, and you should stop doing what you want to do in the next process. I think this is one of the easiest ways to analyze how to learn from failure. On the one hand, in these cases, I don’t like to use the word failure. Frustration is my first choice. For example in my case study Apollo 1, although this is a failure, we need to understand how can we improve for next time. The main reason that caused this accident is the fire, we need to know how does the fair had been caused, which part of the work have been down well. Realize that failure is the best teacher for us. Think about it, if NASA has not experienced the failure of testing Apollo 1, how does NASA learn to get better? How do we develop to the advanced level of humanity today? People say that experience is the best teacher. If you think this is true, then you need to accept the failure. This is one of the many courses you have learned from experience. Therefore, we can learn from failure. It’s that simple. Think of failure as a lesson in the journey of life. How does NASA to be better for future jobs? If NASA wants to make progress today, then Apollo 1’s failure is worthwhile. When you are too cautious, you should not let yourself take any risks. If NASA has been experimenting very smoothly, then NASA will not give itself a chance to learn from the failure. Give yourself the freedom to fail and see how the lessons of success open for you. For Apollo 1 the main reason is that not get sufficient preparation for the test, and no plan for the safety issues such as in these areas: Flammable materials are widely distributed in the engine compartment. The fragile wiring carries spacecraft. The crew did not have enough ways to escape. The preparation for rescue or medical assistance is inadequate. There is no success without failure. NASA should accept failure as a learning opportunity, and NASA will make much progress today. Lessons learned from failure, the cost of failure may be high, but in the long run, you will find that future results will be more valuable.


My case study is Apollo 1 which is NASA’s first Apollo program that was launched on February 21, 1967, at the Kennedy Point launch site. However, during the test flight take-off on January 27, 1967, three astronauts in the command module died, causing the US moon landing plan to be suspended. The three restraints are Virgil Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee. First of all, we should carefully analyze the reasons for failure, do not let our failures have any meaning, no reference. How to do a good job of summarizing the fault, we should analyze the reasons for the failure, find the corresponding countermeasures, and do not let the failure come down. At all times, we should constantly change ourselves and make our comprehensive capabilities higher and higher. Fourth, we should also develop a rectification plan. For our mistakes, we must change it instead of committing it again. Fifth, we should also proceed from reality, not too far-reaching, and attribute our failure to the ultimate success. In the Apollo 1 accident, the experience of failure helped to make up for this wrong idea. The space program’s pressure on technology development may encourage NASA to recognize how it will evolve. After the accident, the scientists of Apollo faced a terrible problem: the pure oxygen environment plus the exposed environment of the wires, and the flammable materials in the cabin increased the serious danger. NASA strengthened the fire protection capabilities of the spacecraft and invented a hatch that quickly opened outwards, thus solving many of the safety problems of astronauts in the event of an accident. It is important that learn from failure and find out what we need to improve for a better future.


  1. Anonymous 2006,”Plans for Space Shuttle successor” page1 pragraph 2-5.
  2. Dunn, Marcia 2017,“Marking 50 years since Apollo 1 fire, NASA’s first tragedy” page 1 pargraph4-6.
  3. Jones, Wanda J, 2000, “Part 1: Apollo meets minerva: Health in 2025” page 1 pargraph 3,6,7.
  4. Kasprzak, Sheri, 2017, “NASA Honors Crews of Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia During Day of Remembrance” page 1 pargraph4,5,6.
  5. Stephen Garber, 2016, “About NASA’s History Division” page 1,2 paragraph 4,6,7

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