Chaffee's wife, Martha, accepted the award Saturday during halftime ceremonies at the Purdue-Ohio State football game.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is presenting Ambassador of Exploration Awards to the first generation of explorers in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs or their survivors for realizing America's vision of going to the moon.
The award is a moon rock encased in Lucite and mounted for public display. Martha Chaffee donated the rock to Purdue, which will display it in its Neil Armstrong Engineering Hall. The rocks are part of the 842 pounds of samples collected during the six Apollo lunar expeditions from 1969 to 1972.
Chaffee received a bachelor's of science degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue in 1957. He died Jan. 27, 1967, with astronauts Virgil Grissom and Edward White in the Apollo 1 spacecraft fire during a launch pad test at the Kennedy Space Center.