A slip-up in paperwork five years ago has been pinpointed as the basic error which led to the near-catastrophe of the Apollo-13 moon mission.
LV Mr. Cortright addresses press
CU&SV Simulation explosion test with explanation voice over (7 shots)
CU Cortright speaks to press
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 3: CORTRIGHT: "This is inside a simulated tank. It is burning down along the fan motor wiring towards...this is the top of a tank simulator and this is teflon collar now that catches fire. This is switching to the outside of the tank. There's the rapture, a blast of burning particles and gas. Now this particular rupture opened up the electrical conduit which was one of the failure modes we had hypothesised. This is very, very, slow motion. The rupture begins on this side, peels back, the two lower sections bellows. Sufficient work has been done now to identify and understand the nature of the malfunction and the direction which the corrective actions must take. All indications are than an electrically initiated fire in oxygen tank number two in the service module was the cause of the accident. Accordingly the board concentrated on this tank, on its design, manufacture, test handling, checkout, use, failure mode and eventual effects on the rest of the spacecraft. The accident is generally understood and the most probable cause has been identified. Recommendations are provided as to the general direction which the corrective actions must take. Significant modifications must be made to the service module oxygen storage tanks and related equipments. The modified hardware should go through a rigorous requalification test programme. This is the responsibility of the Apollo organisation in the months immediately ahead.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A slip-up in paperwork five years ago has been pinpointed as the basic error which led to the near-catastrophe of the Apollo-13 moon mission.
The official Apollo-13 review board disclosed the fault at a press conference in Houston today (June 16). The report said that when specifications for a heater in the spacecraft's oxygen tanks were revised in 1965, neither North American Rockwell nor its subcontractor, Beech Aircraft Corporation, remembered to change the thermostatic switches as well.
Mr. Edgar Cortright, who headed the investigations told questioners at a press conference that the oxygen tanks could have caught fire at any time.