If you uncover a questionable fact or debatable aspect of this week’s Geek Trivia, just post it in the discussion area of the article. Every week, yours truly will choose the best quibble from our assembled masses and discuss it in a future edition of Geek Trivia.

This week’s quibble comes from the May 13, 2008 edition of Geek Trivia, “Five for (Saturn) five.” TechRepublic member dryd disputed my accolades for the Saturn V rocket’s service record:

“‘No Saturn V ever failed to deliver its payload into orbit.’ Didn’t one of them explode on the pad, killing all crew members?”

You’re thinking of the Apollo 1 disaster, which claimed the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee.

Despite the name Apollo 1 — which was awarded to the mission posthumously — this tragedy actually occurred during a mission exercise call Apollo/Saturn 204. This was really just a dress rehearsal for a launch, but the rocket was never scheduled to lift off. Sadly, an electrical fire broke out in the crew compartment during the test and spread quickly in the pure oxygen environment. The crew was unable to open the hatch before succumbing, and all three men were lost.

To honor the sacrifice that Grissom, White, and Chaffee made for the advancement of human spaceflight, AS-204 was rechristened Apollo 1. Major changes to the Apollo capsule were made in the follow-up to the Apollo 1 disaster, but none of the blame lay with the Saturn V rocket itself.

Thanks for the quibble, and keep them coming.

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