Friday, February 15, 2008

Roger Chaffee

Roger Bruce Chaffee (February 15, 1935 – January 27, 1967) was a U.S. Navy pilot who became an American astronaut in the Apollo program.
Roger Chaffee was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, attended Illinois Institute of Technology and earned a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1957. He was married to Martha Horn Chaffee, and had two children, Sheryl and Stephen. Chaffee was an Eagle Scout and a member of Phi Kappa Sigma.
Chaffee was a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy. In the book Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon, it is claimed that he flew the U2 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.

He was chosen in the third group of astronauts in 1963 and had made no spaceflights before being selected as lunar module pilot for the first Apollo program flight.

Chaffee died along with fellow astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom and Edward White in the Apollo 1 fire at Cape Kennedy. Chaffee and Grissom are both buried in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery, while White is buried at West Point Cemetery.
* The Chaffee crater on the far side of the Moon.
* Chaffee Hill, 14.3 km (8.9 mi) south-southwest of Columbia Memorial Station on Mars, part of the Apollo 1 Hills.
* The star Gamma Velorum was named "Regor" ("Roger" spelled backwards) in his honor.
* An artificial island in San Pedro Bay off Southern California.
* Chaffee is remembered in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium is named after him, as well as a street in an industrial park (Roger B. Chaffee Drive in the Grand Rapids suburb, Wyoming, Michigan at the location of the old Kent County Airport,) and the Roger B. Chaffee Scholarship, awarded annually to exceptional students in math and science in the Grand Rapids metropolitan area.
* The Roger B. Chaffee Lodge at Gerber Scout Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan. There is a plaque in the dining area dedicating the lodge to him and his service in the Boy Scouts of America and his sacrifice for the American Space Program.
* Roger B. Chaffee Park in Fullerton, California. Fullerton has also named parks in honor of Grissom and White.

Schools

* Roger B. Chaffee Elementary in Huntsville, Alabama. Huntsville, also known as "Rocket City" because it is a major center for space technology and rocket development, simultaneously named Ed White Middle School and Virgil I. Grissom High School for his Apollo 1 crewmates.
* Chaffee Trail Elementary located off of Chaffee Road in Jacksonville, Florida, opened in July 2007.
* The US Navy school at Naval Air Station Bermuda was named for him from 1970 to 1995. The school was closed with the hand-over of the base to the Bermudan government and is now named Clearwater Middle School.

# United States Navy Air Medal (posthumous)
# Purple Heart (posthumous)
# Congressional Space Medal of Honor, 1997 (posthumous)
# NASA Ambassador of Exploration Award for involvement in the U.S. space program, 2007 (posthumous).

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