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Roger B. Chaffee letter and postcard

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSA 282
The letter dated July 24, 1965 is from Roger Chaffee to his parents. On the reverse is a July 25, 1965 note from Martha Chaffee to her in-laws in which she signs, "Roger, Martha, Sheryl and Steve." In the letter, Roger discussed an upcoming flight and the astronaut's rotation as capsule communicator (CAPCOM). He mentions Gus Grissom, Gene Cernan, Jim McDivitt, Buzz Aldrin and Dave Scott. Both Roger and Martha discuss recent family activities at home. The postcard, dated July 1965, was sent by Roger from Iceland to his parents.

Dates

  • 1967

Creator

Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Use Information

Copyright held by Purdue University per auction purchase.

Extent

0.182 Cubic Feet (One letter-size half-width manuscript box)

Biographical Information

Roger B. Chaffee was born February 15, 1935 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Chaffee graduated from Central High School, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering, Purdue University in 1957. While at Purdue University, he was a member of Tau Beta Pi, National Engineering Society, Sigma Gamma Tau, and Phi Kappa Sigma.

Chaffee entered the Navy in 1957 as a United States Navy Lieutenant Commander. He served as safety officer and quality control officer for Heavy Photographic Squadron 62 at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. In January 1963, he entered the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to work on a Master of Science Degree in Reliability Engineering. He logged more than 2,300 hours flying time, which included more than 2,000 hours in jet aircraft. Chaffee was awarded the United States Navy Air Medal.

Chaffee was one of the third groups of astronauts selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in October 1963. In addition to participating in the overall training program, he was also tasked with working on flight control communications systems, instrumentation systems, and attitude and translation control systems in the Apollo Branch of the Astronaut office. On March 21, 1966, he was selected as one of the pilots for the AS-204 mission, the first three-man Apollo flight.

Lieutenant Commander Chaffee died on January 27, 1967, in the Apollo spacecraft flash fire during a launch pad test at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

He was quoted in the New York Times, "You'll be flying along some nights with a full moon. You're up at 45,000 feet. Up there you can see like you can't see it down here. It's just the big, bright, clear moon. You look up there and just say to yourself: I've got to get up there. I've got to get up there. I've just got to get one of those flights."

Acquisition Information

Auction purchase 2013.

Related Materials

MSP 279, Rose Bowl Ticket Envelope Signed by Astronauts, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

MSA 301, Chesterfield H. Janes papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Processing Information

The letter and postcard have been housed in polyester sleeves, acid-free folders, and an acid-free box for peservation purposes.
Title
Roger B. Chaffee letter and postcard
Status
Under Review
Author
Mary A. Sego
Date
2019-08-13
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed 2014-02-06.

Revision Statements

  • 2019-08-13: Collection description updated to new standards by Mary A. Sego.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
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