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This Day in History: Apollo 1 Bursts into Flames, Killing 3 American Astronauts

All three American astronauts on board died in the fire: Lt. Col. Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Lt. Col. Edward White II and Roger B. Chaffee

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In this undated photo made available by NASA, (L-R), veteran astronaut Virgil Grissom, first American spacewalker Ed White and rookie Roger Chaffee, stand for a photograph in Cape Kennedy, Florida, today Cape Canaveral. VOA

US, Jan 27, 2017: Fifty years ago today, January 27, 1967, tragedy struck NASA’s proposed first manned flight of the Apollo capsule when a fire engulfed the craft during a routine test on the launchpad.

All three American astronauts on board died in the fire: Lt. Col. Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Lt. Col. Edward White II and Roger B. Chaffee.

The tragedy stunned the nation, and it temporarily stalled NASA’s push to meet then-president John F. Kennedy’s deadline to reach the lunar surface by the end of the decade

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A NASA probe and congressional hearings concluded previously unidentified fire hazards existed inside the capsule, and the subsequent decision to pressurize it entirely with oxygen created an extremely combustible environment. The hatch opened inward, which made it difficult for the crew to open it and escape.

After the deadly accident, hundreds of changes to the capsule were made, and NASA instituted myriad safety procedures. The redesigned capsules used a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen, reducing the fire risk. A new hatch was designed that could be opened in just five seconds.

Only 21 months later, NASA sent humans back into space aboard Apollo 7. And less than a year after that, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed Apollo 11 on the moon.

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To mark the 50th anniversary, NASA is holding a ceremony, which will be broadcast live on NASA television. (VOA)

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Live Broadcast of Meteor Shower to Be Available on NASA Meteor Watch Facebook Page

Across the Northern Hemisphere, sky watchers will be treated to a stunning array of meteors streaking overhead from late Sunday into early Monday

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Meteor Shower, Live, NASA
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email Print this page Comments Science & Health Perseid Meteor Shower to Peak This Week By VOA News August 11, 2019 11:09 PM A photographer sets up his camera hoping to document the universal phenomenon of the Perseid Meteor Shower, in the Valley of Whales, in Fayoum, Egypt, Aug. 12, 2017. (H. Elrasam/VOA) A photographer sets up his camera hoping to document the universal phenomenon of the Perseid Meteor Shower, in the Valley of Whales, in Fayoum, Egypt, Aug. 12, 2017. VOA

The best meteor shower of the year is upon us.

Across the Northern Hemisphere, sky watchers will be treated to a stunning array of meteors streaking overhead from late Sunday into early Monday, as well as Monday night into early Tuesday.

The Perseids occur when Earth enters the debris field left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Earth entered the debris field in late July, but this weekend will be the peak, with as many as 50 meteors streaking by every hour. The Earth will exit the debris field in late August.

According to NASA, a live broadcast of the meteor shower from a camera in Huntsville, Alabama, will be available on the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page after 8 p.m. EDT Sunday (0000 UTC Monday).

Meteor Shower, Live, NASA
The best meteor shower of the year is upon us. Pixabay

For best viewing, NASA recommends going away from bright city lights to darker areas.

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The meteors can be seen in all directions, NASA says. And all you need are your eyes; no binoculars or telescopes required. People should give their eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the dark, NASA adds. (VOA)