Roger Chaffee statue.

Astronaut Roger Chaffee Statue

Field review by the editors.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Roger B. Chaffee is the most famous astronaut who never made it to outer space -- and not for reasons anyone would have liked. Chaffee, an astronaut rookie, along with space veterans Ed White and hard-luck Gus Grissom, were killed on January 27, 1967, when an electrical fire asphyxiated all three locked inside their Apollo I capsule. It was undergoing some routine pre-flight tests -- not considered dangerous. They were firmly on the ground, but by the time help arrived they were dead. As a result, NASA designed a new command module with improved safety and procedures, and the failed ground test module was named Apollo I.

Chaffee would have been the world's youngest astronaut, and almost certainly would have been part of a later flight to the moon. He was from Grand Rapids and, although it took over 50 years, the city unveiled a bronze statue of him, by sculptor Brett Grill, on May 19, 2018.

Chaffee stands outside the Grand Rapids Children's Museum. A hometown astronaut is always inspiring; an astronaut-martyr is even more special and worthy of a statue. Kids, before you pick "astronaut" as the job you want when you grow up, remember the sacrifice of Roger B. Chaffee.

Astronaut Roger Chaffee Statue

1 Monroe Center St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI
At the northwest corner of E. Fulton St. and Sheldon Ave. NE, outside the entrance to the Grand Rapids Children's Museum.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Rosa Parks in Unfamiliar PoseRosa Parks in Unfamiliar Pose, Grand Rapids, MI - < 1 mi.
Abstract Monument to FluoridationAbstract Monument to Fluoridation, Grand Rapids, MI - < 1 mi.
1911 Furniture Strike1911 Furniture Strike, Grand Rapids, MI - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Jet On A Stick, Holland, MI - 28 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Michigan

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Michigan.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

August 15, 2020

My Sights

My Sights

Map and Plan Your Own Roadside Adventure

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Michigan Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

The Oregon Vortex, Gold Hill, Oregon (Aug 10-16, 2020)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from Subscribe now! Hotel & Motel Finder

Special rates for hotels.

Book Now