Encyclopedia Astronautica
1967.01.31 - Apollo 204 Review Board of advised of accident in an altitude chamber at Brooks Air Force Base


Col. Charles F. Strang advised the Apollo 204 Review Board of an accident in an altitude chamber at Brooks Air Force Base, Tex., that morning. A flash fire had swept the oxygen-filled pressure chamber, killing Airman 2/C William F. Bartley, Jr., and Airman 3/C Richard G. Harmon.

Col. Strang presented a short briefing on the circumstances and was asked by Chairman Floyd Thompson to provide follow-up information.

Lt. Col. William D. Baxter, Air Force Eastern Test Range representative to the Board, advised the group of existing Apollo spacecraft hazards, including:

- high-pressure oxygen bottles that might be pressurized to 335 newtons per square centimeter (485 pounds per square inch) and be subject to embrittlement;
- pyrotechnics on the service module; and
- a launch escape system with a 40-kilonewton (9,000-pound-thrust) rocket motor.

An engineering review was made of these hazards and it was agreed that these items must be removed before any work could proceed.

In other actions on January 31, the Chairman of Panel 4, Disassembly Activities, briefed the Board on the Spacecraft Debris Removal Plan and the group approved the plan to the point of removing the astronauts' couches. In addition, Panel 19, Safety of Investigation Operations, was formed.

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