Reaching the Moon took courage, tenacity and innovation.

Tragically, it also claimed the lives of 8 brave souls, three of whom perished in the Apollo 1 fire.

Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee all tragically perished when a spark ignited the oxygen inside the Apollo 1 capsule they were testing. Grissom was the second American in space when he flew on Liberty Bell 7 as part of the Mercury Program. White was the first American to walk in space during Gemini IV. Chaffee was a naval aviator and aeronautical engineer; Apollo 1 was to be his first mission as an astronaut.

Their sacrifice was devastating and threatened to end the nation’s young space program. Instead, it galvanized everyone in the Apollo program.

It drove them to create safer solutions, ensuring that Grissom, White and Chaffee would be part of humanity’s greatest achievement.

Watch our next installment of the Mission Apollo Minute video dedicated to these brave explorers. Every year, NASA honors the Apollo 1 astronauts and the crews of both the Challenger and Columbia as part of the Day of Remembrance.