Encyclopedia Astronautica
1967.03.18 - The final report of the Apollo Spacecraft and Ground Support Equipment Configuration Panel


The final report of the Spacecraft and Ground Support Equipment Configuration Panel (No. 1) was accepted by the Apollo 204 Review Board.

The panel had been assigned the task of documenting the physical configuration of the spacecraft and ground support equipment immediately before and during the January 27 fire, including equipment, switch position, and nonflight items in the cockpit. The panel was also to document differences from the expected launch configuration and configurations used in previous testing (such as altitude-chamber testing).

During the investigation the panel had discovered a number of items which might have had relevance to flame propagation:

- An engineering order, released at North American Aviation's Downey facility on January 20, provided direction to inspect the polyurethane foam in specified areas and coat the silicone rubber to meet flammability requirements. The direction was not recorded in the configuration verification record as of the start of the Space Vehicle Plugs-Out Integrated Test and was not accomplished on spacecraft 012. This item was considered as possibly significant in terms of fuel for the fire and a medium for flame propagation.
- Polyethylene bags covered the hose fitting for the drinking water dispenser and the battery-instrumentation cable and connectors and transducer, which were placed on the aft bulkhead near the batteries. The bags were made of nonflight materials.
- Two polyurethane pads, covered with Velostat, were stowed over couch struts. The pads were placed in the spacecraft to protect the struts, wiring, and aft bulkhead during the planned emergency egress at the end of the test. These items were of nonflight material and were not documented by quality inspection records.
- Three packages of switching checklists from the Operational Checkout Procedure and one package of system malfunction procedures, in a manila folder, were stowed on the crew couches and on a shelf. These items were on unqualified paper and, while required for the test, they were not documented by quality inspection records.
- Nylon protective sleeves were covering all three crewmen's oxygen umbilicals. These sleeves were nonflight items.
- Three ground-support-equipment window covers had been temporarily installed to protect the windows and were nonflight items in the spacecraft at the time of the accident. Another such cover for the side hatch window was removed by the crew and stowed inside the command module. These covers were of nylon fabric; flight covers were made of aluminized Mylar.
- Velcro pile had been installed to protect the Velcro hood on the command module floor. It would have been removed before the flight.
- "Remove before flight" streamers installed in the command module interior were additional nonflight items.
- Polyethylene zipper tubing, installed to protect hand controller cables, was a nonflight item and was additional material in the command module.

The panel's summary of findings and determinations included:

Finding

Eighty engineering orders effective for spacecraft 012 had not been carried out at the time of the accident. Of these, twenty were specified to be completed after the test; four did not affect configuration.

Determination

Test requirements had no defined relationships with the open status of 56 engineering orders. The reason not all work items and engineering orders were closed was late receipt of changes or further work scheduled to be completed before launch.

Finding

Items not documented by quality inspection records had been placed on board the spacecraft during preparation for the Space Vehicle Plugs- Out Integrated Test.

Determination

Procedures for controlling entry of items into the spacecraft were not strictly enforced.

More... - Chronology...

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use