Inside The Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering, there is a replica of the Apollo 1 Capsule. It’s being loaned by the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, and is on display inside the main atrium of the building. The description of the replica is as follows:
This command module is a replica of the Apollo 1 capsule destroyed by fire on January 27, 1967, at the John F. Kennedy Space Center during a prelaunch test. Training for the first crewed Apollo flight, an Earth orbiting mission, Senior Pilot Edward White, Commander Virgil “Gus” rise (BSME ’50), and Pilot Roger Chaffee (BSAE ’57) had entered the spacecraft to complete a launch simulation, which included an entire countdown sequence. A failure in communications forced a hold in the count at 5:40 PM. At 6:31 PM, one of the astronauts reported, “Fire – I smell fire.”
The crew perished in the blaze, which was most likely caused by a spark from a short circuit and a bundle of wires located near Grissom’s seat. Changes made to the Apollo command module as a result of the tragedy resulted in a highly reliable craft that, with the exception of Apollo 13, helped make the complex and dangerous trip to the Moon almost commonplace.