On January 27, 1967, the fledgling Apollo program suffers its first setback, a disaster which almost ends the American space program. During a seemingly innocuous ground test of the Apollo capsule’s ability to function independently, a fire begins in the vehicle and burns out of control in the highly-pressurized, all-oxygen atmosphere. Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee die when the life support systems of their sealed pressure suits are infiltrated by toxic smoke. In the already highly-politicized atmosphere of the space race, the finger-pointing begins immediately. An internal NASA review board begins an intense investigation of the charred Apollo capsule, as well as North American Aviation, the manufacturer contracted to build it. To make matters worse, Senator Walter Mondale sees the hotly-debated and very public accident as an opportunity to further his goal of ending the space program in favor of more Earthbound concerns. Before NASA can continue its quest for the moon, it will have to win back not only public opinion, but the confidence of the government.
Cast: Mason Adams (Clinton Anderson), Jo Anderson (Pat White), David Andrews (Frank Borman), Peter Anthony (Engineer), Donna Badger (Secretary #2), Janis Benson (Senator Margaret C. Smith), Dan Bright (Mondale’s aide), Tommy Canary (Simpkinson), Bill Cordell (Pyro technician), Ronny Cox (Lee Atwood), Ann Cusack (Jan Armstrong), Keith Dickerson (Pyro technician), J. Don Ferguson (Senator Stephen Young), Dann Florek (Robert Seamans), Ru Flynn (Storms’ secretary), Don Fowler (Harrison Storms, Jr.), Rhoda Griffin (Martha Chaffee), J. Michael Hunter (Skip Chauvin), Chris Isaak (Ed White), Tom Kouchalakos (Technician), Mitchell Laurence (Bud Mahurin), Dan Lauria (James Webb), David Lenthall (Sam Heddingfield), Ben Marley (Roger Chaffee), Dakin Matthews (Dr. Floyd Thompson), George Newbern (Stu Roosa), Holmes Osborne (George Low), Kevin Pollak (Joe Shea), Robby Preddy (Phyllis Storms), Kevin Rainsberger (Dr. Berry), James Rebhorn (Harrison Storms), Ruth Reid (Betty Grissom), Stephen Root (Chris Kraft), Nick Searcy (Deke Slayton), Frank Silva (Levine), John Slattery (Walter Mondale), Joe Spano (George Mueller), Kritsin Stone (Astronaut wife), Arthur Tanier (Dr. Robert Van Dolah), Kathy Tyrell (Shea’s secretary)
LogBook entry by Earl Green