Abandon in Place

For those of you that don’t follow the space program in the U.S., this is always a sad time of year in and around NASA. January 27 is the anniversary of the 1967 Apollo 1 fire that killed Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee in a pre-launch test. January 28 is the anniversary of the 1986 loss of the shuttle Challenger in a launch explosion. Tomorrow, February 1 is the seventh anniversary of the shuttle Columbia’s loss during re-entry.

All in all, a rough week of the calendar for crewed space flight.

This is the foundation of Cape Canaveral’s Pad 34, site of the Apollo 1 fire. The steel structure was removed years ago (these things decay quickly in Florida’s environment), but the concrete base has been left in place as a monument to the astronauts’ sacrifices.

Abandon in Place

A memorial plaque was installed on one side of the structure, and when I visited, saw some remains of flowers that people have left at the site. It’s a tricky thing to get to, though — although if you’re lucky, you can occasionally get to it on a tour of the historic launch pads.

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