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Upcoming Symposium To Honor Roger B. Chaffee

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Roger B. Chaffee, an astronaut and Grand Rapids native, is being honored in an upcoming event, titled, “Roger That.”  Chaffee died during testing on Apollo One in 1967.  Grand Valley State University and the Grand Rapids Public Museum are hosting a two day symposium.

The  two day symposium entitled, “Roger That”, will be held in February in honor of Grand Rapids native, Roger B. Chaffee.  Organizers say the date is tied to Chaffee’s birthday and of course, his death on Apollo One in 1967.

“Roger B. Chaffee did die, along with Guss Grisham and Ed White in that Apollo 1 fire, which was one of the motivations for this conference.  That was January 27, 1967, so this is the 50th anniversary.”

That’s Deana Weibel, Associate professor of anthropology at Grand Valley State University, as well as the chair of the department.  She says GVSU is co-sponsoring this event on February 10th and 11th with the Grand Rapids Public Library.  Weibel says Grand Rapids residents sometimes forget about their connection to the space program.

“And Grand Rapids doesn’t always think of itself as having a connection to Nasa or the space program.  I will say there have been other astronauts from this area, Jack Lousma, if you watch Apollo 13,  when they say, “Houston, we have a problem”,  Jack Lousma was the one on the other side of that speaker.  But, he’s from Grand Rapids area, there’ve been a number of other West Michigan astronauts and it’s important to keep that in mind.”
 

There will be a symposium with a keynote speaker plus field trips to the museum and space themed activities.  Chaffee’s wife and daughter will also give a presentation.   Here’s Kate Moore, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at the Public Museum.

“This whole program is for us to be able to celebrate his life and the contributions that he helped make.”

Most events are free and open to the public.  You can find more information at gvsu.edu/rogerthat  or at grpm.org.