Apollo and Challenger Disasters

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 10th gradeA+, January 1996

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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...