Gus Grissom was the second American in space. Ed White was the first American to walk in space. Roger Chaffee was a cold war hero, flying reconnaissance missions over Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis. All of them were to have been the prime crew of the first Apollo spacecraft—and none of them made it. Like Komarov, they lost their lives to a lousy spacecraft. The so-called block 1 Apollo craft—the initial model—was fraught with problems from the moment NASA began to cut metal on it. The communications were awful, the environmental hardware was fritzy, the power system was unreliable—especially the wiring. In a NASA publicity photo, the astronauts were seen posing and smiling with a model of the spacecraft in front of them on a desk. In a version not released, they were seen praying over it—playfully looking for divine protection. It never came. On January 27, 1967, during a full dress launch rehearsal, a bit of frayed insulation on a wire next to Grissom’s seat sparked, causing a fire to roar through the highly pressurized, 100%-oxygen environment. The astronauts were killed almost instantly, not only because of the fire but because of another, unforgivably shoddy piece of engineering: the hatch. It took more than 90 seconds to open the thing—or about 80 more than the crew could afford.