Roger B. Chaffee

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Roger Bruce Chaffee (February 15, 1935 – January 27, 1967) was an American aeronautical engineer, a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy and a NASA astronaut in the Apollo program. Chaffee was killed along with fellow astronauts Gus Grissom and Ed White during a pre-launch test for the Apollo 1 mission at the Kennedy Space Center. Chaffee was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart and the United States Navy Air Medal.

Contents

Early years

Roger Bruce Chaffee was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he graduated from Central High School. He attended Illinois Institute of Technology and earned a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1957. He married Martha Horn in Oklahoma City on August 24, 1957. They had two children, Sheryl Lyn and Stephen. Chaffee was an Eagle Scout and a member of Phi Kappa Sigma. Early 1963 he received a master of science degree in reliability engineering at Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio.[1]

Military and NASA career

Chaffee was a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy. One of his duties in the early 1960s was to photograph Cape Canaveral. In the book Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon,[citation needed] it is claimed that he flew the U-2 spyplane which took the pictures of Soviet missiles in Cuba which President Kennedy used on television on October 22, 1962. However, during this time Chaffee actually flew Navy RA3Ds (a reconnaissance version of the carrier-based Douglas Skywarrior nuclear bomber). He was officially recognized for his service during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but his exact role is unclear and it is unknown if he actually flew over Cuba.

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