Apollo 4 Essay Research Paper Apollo 4Introduction

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Apollo 4 Essay, Research Paper Apollo 4 Introduction This paper is going to compare the Apollo 1 and the Challenger disasters. Both space programs were unfortunate disasters, caused by a series of oversights and misjudgments. How did this lost of life occur in such a high tech environment? Apollo 4 On January 27, 1967, the three astronauts of the Apollo 4, were doing a test countdown on the launch pad. Gus Grissom was in charge. His crew were Edward H. White, the first American to walk in space, and Roger B. Chaffee, a naval officer going up for the first time. 182 feet below, R.C.A technician Gary Propst was seated in front of a bank of television monitors, listening to the crew radio channel and watching various televisions for important activity. Inside the Apollo 4 there

was a metal door with a sharp edge. Each time the door was open and shut, it scraped against an environmental control unit wire. The repeated abrasion had exposed two tiny sections of wire. A spark alone would not cause a fire, but just below the cuts in the cable was a length of aluminum tubing, which took a ninety-degree turn. There were hundreds of these turns in the whole capsule. The aluminum tubing carried a glycol cooling fluid, which is not flammable, but when exposed to air it turns to flammable fumes. The capsule was filled with pure oxygen in an effort to allow the astronauts to work more efficiently. It also turns normally not so flammable items to highly flammable items. Raschel netting that was highly flammable in the pure oxygen environment was near the exposed

section of the wires. At 6:31:04 p.m. the Raschel netting burst into an open flame. A second after the netting burst into flames, the first message came over the crew’s radio channel: “Fire,” Grissom said. Two Seconds later, Chaffee said clearly, “We’ve got a fire in the cockpit.” His tone was businesslike (Murray 191). There was no camera in the cabin, but a remote control camera, if zoomed in on the porthole could provide a partial, shadowy view of the interior of the space craft. There was a lot of motion, Propst explained, as White seemed to fumble with something and then quickly pull his arms back, then reach out again. Another pair of arms came into view from the left, Grissom’s, as the flames spread from the far left-hand corner of the spacecraft toward the

porthole (Murray 192). The crew struggled for about 30 seconds after their suits failed, and then died of asphyxiation, not the heat. To get out of the capsule astronauts had to remove three separate hatches, atleast 90 seconds was required to open all three hatches. The IB Saturn rocket contained no fuel, so no chance of fire was really thought of, so there were no fire crews or doctors standing by. Many people were listening to the crew’s radio channel, and would have responded, but were caught off guard and the first mention of fire was not clearly heard by anyone. Challenger On January 28, 1986 the space shuttle Challenger was ready to launch. The lead up to the launch had not been without its share of problems. The talk of cold weather, icicles, and brittle and faulty

o-rings were the main problems. It was revealed that deep doubts of some engineers had not been passed on by their superiors to the shuttle director, Mr. Moore. Something was unusual about that morning in Florida: it was uncommonly cold. The night before, the temperature had dropped to twenty-two degrees fahrenheit. Icicles hung from the launch pad, it was said that the icicles could have broken off and damaged the space shuttle’s heat tiles. It had been the coldest day on which a shuttle launch had ever been attempted. Cold weather had made the rubber O-ring seals so brittle that they no longer sealed the joint properly. People feared a reduction in the efficiency of the O-ring seals on the solid rocket boosters. Level 1 authorities at NASA had received enough information