Lead: Faulty design and a hasty schedule driven by domestic and cold war politics led in early 1967 to the greatest disaster in America’s race to the moon.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Late in the afternoon of January 27, 1967 three astronauts, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were locked in the Apollo Command and Service Module atop a Saturn IB rocket high above the scrub oaks and swamps of the Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s east coast. They were at the end of a relatively routine test of the launch system. Suddenly, the test stopped being routine. There was fire in the cockpit.