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30 years later, Apollo 1 astronaut gains Hall of Fame status


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (CNN) -- Apollo 1 astronaut Roger Chaffee, who died in a fiery accident before conducting his first space mission, will be admitted to the Astronaut Hall of Fame, ending a dispute that threatened to tear apart the tight-knit astronaut community.

Officials announced their decision Wednesday. The hall had previously required all inductees to have flown in space.

Astronauts Chaffee, Gus Grissom and Ed White died on a launch pad in January 1967 when fire swept through their sealed and pressurized spacecraft during a countdown rehearsal.

Both Grissom and White had flown in space before the ill-fated Apollo 1 mission. Grissom was the second American to fly in space, and White was the first American to walk in space.

Grissom's wife, Betty, who served on the hall's board in her husband's place, proposed Chaffee be admitted to Hall of Fame. But the board voted down the proposal, prompting her to quit and threaten to have her husband's belongings removed from hall displays.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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