GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Famous astronaut Roger B. Chaffee was honored at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum on Saturday. The Grand Rapids native died during the test launch for the Apollo 1 Mission, but his legacy lives on.
Chaffee graduated from Purdue in 1957 before joining the Navy. His time included flights on a variety of planes and taking crucial photographs during the Cuban missile crisis. That earned him the Air Medal Award. But it was his work with NASA that left a mark on the world. He was one of 13 pilots selected to be part of NASA Astronaut Group 3 in 1963.
Chaffee died in 1967, but he was honored with the Space Medal Honor and a second Air Medial Award.
“We know that Roger’s memory will live on for many years. And as kids come by the Children’s Museum, (they’ll) say, ‘That’s what I want to do’, ” said Dave Thompson, the event’s chairman.
He was also a former Eagle Scout, and was honored by aspiring members, children and community members, as the Roger B. Chaffee statue was unveiled.
“We’re here to remember him and to remember his legacy, and to especially put it in front of the Children’s Museum to inspire them to greater things,” said Jack Lousma, a Veteran and former astronaut.
Now, the statue will honor Chaffee’s dedication and sacrifice to our country.
“I think the thing that’s important to us is that kids have a chance to see a local hero, even in bronze,” said Lousma.