This Saturday, February 17, is a special Astronaut Day. A day to celebrate the life of Roger B. Chaffee, who the Planetarium at the museum is named after.

Chaffee was from Grand Rapids, and graduated from Central High School in 1953, and accepted a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship. He went on to college at Purdue University.

After graduating from Purdue in 1957, Chaffee completed his Navy pre-commissioning training, and was commissioned as an ensign. He became quality and safety control officer for Heavy Photographic Squadron 62 (VAP-62). His time in this unit included taking crucial photos of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, for which he was awarded the Air Medal. He was promoted to lieutenant commander in 1966.

Sadly, he died in a fire along with fellow astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom and Ed White during a pre-launch test for the Apollo 1 mission at what was then the Cape Kennedy Air Force Station Launch Complex 34, Florida. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and a second Air Medal.

This Saturday, February 17, you'll enjoy exciting and educational exhibitions and activities throughout the day as part of your general admission!

And,as a part of the celebration, former astronaut Guion “Guy” Bluford will present Flying in Space: The Space Shuttle and Beyond. Bluford flew four missions for NASA from 1983-1992, and is best known as the first African American to fly in space, during his first flight, STS-8, on the Challenger. Presentation tickets are $10 and include general admission to the Museum.