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The Apollo I tragedy is an interesting study in declination-conversions.

THE APOLLO 1 TRAGEDY

Project Apollo was a series of human spaceflight missions undertaken by the U.S. using the Apollo spacecraft, conducted during the 1960s.  The goal was to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth.  This goal was achieved with the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.

Two years before the Moon landing, on January 27, 1967, a flash fire occurred during testing for Apollo 1.  Apparently the crew was working inside the spacecraft (on the ground – not in flight) in an atmosphere of pressurized 100% oxygen.  A spark ignited the oxygen, setting the craft on fire.  The crew could not get the hatch open, and all three perished due to asphyxiation (and contributing burns).

Detailed information about the tragedy is available at:  http://history.nasa.gov/Apollo204/

THE CREW MEMBERS

The Command Pilot was VIRGIL “GUS” GRISSOM, born April 3, 1926 at 6:00 p.m. CST in Mitchell, Indiana.  Rodden rated A.

Grissom’s Declination-Equivalent chart reveals a Moon-Venus square that is not apparent in his Longitudinal chart.  The Moon rules his MC, and Venus rules his 8th House (matters of death).

At the time of the tragedy, Grissom’s D-E SA Venus had advanced by solar arc to conjoin his Sun by just 0* 08'.  His Sun squares his MC natally, so D-E SA Venus was starting to square his MC as well, within about half a degree, (although
the exact degree of his angles is suspect since the data is only rated “A” and appears rounded off).  By Longitude, Grissom also had SA Pluto conjunct Neptune.  But without the Declination-Equivalents, we don’t see the tie to the 8th House.

Grissom’s transits by declination that day included Neptune square Jupiter within just 0* 03'.  Jupiter ruled Grissom’s 3rd House (vehicles) and Neptune represents asphyxiation.  Natally, Grissom had Neptune opposite Jupiter (both by longitude and declination).  Another transit by declination Grissom had was NNode quindecile Venus (8th ruler) within 0* 28', activating his D-E natal Moon-Venus square and suggesting both an element of fate, and all the publicity surrounding his death.

Another relevant transit by declination was Uranus sesquiquadrate Neptune by just 0* 5', suggesting sudden loss (in this case loss of oxygen which is ruled by Neptune).

Trigger transits by declination included Jupiter quindecile Saturn (ruling 4th House of endings) from the 8th House (death) within 0* 05', and Mars conjoining Venus (ruling 8th House of death), squaring the NNode (fate), and squaring Pluto (death/transformation), together suggesting a potential for violent, fiery events.  (He also had many trigger transits by Venus, both by longitude and declination).

Grissom’s longitudinal (regular) transits included T Pluto square his MC-ruling Moon (0* 30'), suggesting a transformation of his status and fate in life.  But on the whole, his longitudinal transits do not paint the dramatic picture we see in the declinations, nor with the precision of so many tight orbs.  And again, this is not a question of either/or, so we are not ignoring this Pluto transit.  We are simply filling in the picture a bit more with information from the declinational charts.

The Senior Pilot was EDWARD WHITE, JR., born November 14, 1930 at 6:20 a.m. CST in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. Rodden rated AA.

White’s Declination-Equivalent chart reveals a *partile* Mercury-Saturn semi-square that is not apparent in his Longitudinal chart. Mercury rules his 8th House (death) and Saturn rules his 3rd House (vehicles).  At the time of the fire, this natal aspect was activated by Decl. SA NNode opposite Mercury and sesquiquadrate Saturn by 0* 11'.

At the time, White also had Decl. SA Mercury (8th ruler) quindecile Pluto (Asc ruler/death issues) by just 0* 01'!  Other arcs included Decl. SA Uranus (accidents) square his MC by just 0* 05', and Decl. SA Neptune (asphyxiation) opposite Uranus (ruler of his 4th House of endings) by 0* 14'.  These arcs all correlate to his highly publicized accidental death by asphyxiation.

Declination transits included Decl. T Pluto conjunct Mars by 0* 20', bringing in the suggestion of fire, and Decl. Neptune square the Moon by just 0* 09' (which is natally tied to his 8th House ruler, Mercury, by declination).  The natal Mercury- Saturn semi-square is directly activated by Decl. T Saturn square Saturn by 0* 18', and Decl. T Jupiter quindecile Saturn by 0* 14'.

Trigger transits include Decl. T Mars square Pluto, opposite Neptune, and quindecile Uranus (the last by just 0* 03'!), suggesting the potential for violent, fiery events and loss.

As with Grissom, there are a few Longitudinal (regular) measurements that correlate to the event.  SA Moon & Neptune were both opposing Uranus (0* 47' and 0* 20, respectively).  The NNode was squaring Mars and opposing his Ascendant.  But again, the addition of the declinational measurements paints a more dramatic, and precise, picture.

The other Pilot was ROGER B. CHAFFEE, born February 15, 1935 at 3:00 a.m. EST in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Rodden rated AA.

Chaffee’s Declination-Equivalent chart reveals two quindeciles that are not apparent in his Longitudinal chart: NNode quindecile the Moon (8th House ruler), and Venus (in 3rd House of vehicles) tightly quindecile the MC.  These two quindeciles were mutually activated at the time of the fire by Decl. Venus square Moon by just 0* 15'.

Declination transits included Decl. T Uranus (accidents) quindecile Mercury (MC ruler, in 3rd House of vehicles) by just 0* 03', and Decl. T Saturn (natally in 3rd House) quindecile Neptune (asphyxiation) by 0* 12'.  An interesting thing about the latter transit is that Saturn is quindecile Neptune natally (both by declination and longitude).  The natal Venus-MC quindecile was activated by Decl. T Jupiter sesquiquadrate Venus by just 0* 03' (and also sextile the MC).

Trigger transits included Mars square Ascendant, and opposite Neptune (asphyxiation) and Uranus (accidents), again suggesting a violent accidental asphyxiation. 

For Chaffee there were a few more Longitudinal (regular) measurements that correlated to the event.  He had several close solar arcs, including among others, SA Pluto opposite his Sun, SA Sun opposite MC, SA Mars square Sun, and SA Uranus square Mercury (MC ruler).  Transits included T Neptune square the Sun and conjunct Jupiter within about 1½ degrees, and T Mars square Pluto.  So there is less need here for the additional information declination provides.  Nonetheless, a strong activation of the 8th House ruler shows up only in declination

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