Panel 4 had been assigned to develop procedures for disassembly of spacecraft 012 for inspection and failure analysis. Disassembly was to proceed step by step in a manner permitting maximum information to be obtained without disturbing the evidence - in both the cockpit and the area outside the pressure hull. Cataloging documentary information within the spacecraft and displaying the removed items were a part of the required procedures.
Procedures followed included the following actions:
- Immediately after the January 27 accident, NASA KSC Security placed Launch Complex 34 under additional security. Special guards were assigned to the service structure and to the adjustable level at the entrance of the CM. Controls were established for personnel access to the service structure and the CM.
- After the accident, before disturbing any items in the spacecraft, a series of photographs was taken. A step-by-step photography method was established as a standard operating procedure for the Disassembly Activities Panel.
- The first step toward an orderly disassembly was to ensure safe working conditions at the spacecraft. A meeting with KSC and Air Force Eastern Test Range Safety personnel established procedures and safety rules.
- After the couches were removed, a special false floor was suspended from the couch strut fittings to provide access to the entire inside of the spacecraft without disturbing any evidence. The false floor was fabricated from aluminum angles supporting 2-centimeter-thick, 46-centimeter plexiglass squares.
- The Review Board appointed a Panel Coordination Committee to carry out new procedures to ensure closely controlled and coordinated equipment removal.
The Disassembly Activities Panel cataloged and displayed the 1,261 items removed from spacecraft 012 during the investigation. The Pyrotechnics Installation Building (PIB) at KSC was assigned as an area in which components removed from the command module could be placed in bonded storage yet still be available for inspection by investigative personnel. The following areas were established in the PIB:
- Bond room - a bonded area to receive components as they were removed from CM 012. This area was provided with a receiving table; 10 storage cabinets for small components; and areas for large components and items associated with the investigation but not from the command module itself.
- Astronaut equipment room and work room - an area in which the spacesuits and other government furnished crew equipment were investigated.
- Bonded display area - an area in which components could be displayed under controlled conditions to permit investigators to examine CM 012 components visually.
- Command module 012 work area - The command module was placed in a supporting ring within an existing workstand in the PIB and remained in this area until the aft heatshield was removed. The CM was then transferred to a standard support ring in the north end of the building. Technicians continued the disassembly activities while the CM was in these areas.
- Spacecraft 014 CM - Spacecraft 014 CM (identical in configuration to spacecraft 012) was shipped to KSC on February 1 to assist the Apollo 204 Review Board in the investigation. This CM was placed in the PIB and was used for practicing difficult removals of CM 012 components.
- Mockup No. 2 - Mockup No. 2, a full-scale plywood command module, was brought to KSC and placed in the PIB February 8. The mockup had been configured with Velcro, debris traps, couch positioning, etc., to duplicate CM 012 configuration at the time of the fire.
- Half-scale mockup - A half-scale mockup of the CM interior was placed in the bonded display area February 8 to display half-scale interior surface photographs taken after the fire in CM 012.