Disaster, Recovery, Triumph
In a barren, disused area of Cape Canaveral stands a gaunt, concrete-and-steel hulk which once formed the launch platform of Pad 34. Four decades ago, it served as the starting point for the first Apollo mission, an 11-day trek into low-Earth orbit to demonstrate the capabilities of the spacecraft that would one day deliver men to the Moon. Today, overgrown with bushes, weeds and a few wild pepper trees, it slowly decays in the salty air. A faded ‘Abandon in Place’ sign adorns one of its legs. Near its base are a pair of plaques, memorialising a far darker and more tragic event. The first reads simply: ‘Launch Complex 34 Friday 27 January 1967 1831 Hours’ and dedicates itself to the first three Apollo astronauts, Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. The second pays tribute to their ‘ultimate sacrifice’ that January evening, long ago. Nearby are three granite benches, one in honour of each man.
KeywordsLunar Surface Earth Orbit Launch Vehicle Service Module Lunar Orbit
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