Encyclopedia Astronautica
1967.03.18 - The Apollo 204 Review Board accepted the final report of its Origin and Propagation of Fire Panel


The Apollo 204 Review Board accepted the final report of its Origin and Propagation of Fire Panel (No. 5).

The panel task had been to "conduct inspections, chemical analyses (and) spectrographic analysis of spacecraft, parts or rubble, or use any other useful techniques to establish point of (the CM 012) fire origin, direction and rate of propagation, temperature gradients and extremes. The nature of the fire, the type of materials consumed, the degree of combustion shall be determined."

Following an intensive study - which considered ignition sources, description, and course of the fire - the panel listed 10 findings and determinations in its final report, including:

Finding

Severe damage to wiring was found at the bottom of the power equipment bay along the aft bulkhead. Evidence of arcing was found and damage was less severe in the right-hand direction of this bay.

Determination

Electrical arcing in the extreme lower left-hand comer of this bay could have provided a primary ignition source.

Finding

Right-hand portions of the left-hand equipment bay were severely damaged. Wiring, tubing, and components in the carbon dioxide absorber compartment and oxygen/water panel compartment were burned and melted. Penetrations in the aft bulkhead and pressure vessel wall were observed. The carbon dioxide absorber compartment showed heavy fire damage; failure was due to pressure overload and melting caused by the fire in this area.

Determination

Electrical arcing in the right-hand portion of this bay could have provided a primary ignition source.

Finding

Evidence of electrical arcs from conductor to conductor and from conductor to structure were found.

Determination

No arc could be positively identified as the unique ignition source. Three were found that had all the elements needed to cause the disaster. Two of these showed evidence of poor engineering and installation.

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