Failure Is Not an Option!


“On March 11, 1968, a NASA subcontractor shipped a cryogenic oxygen tank to a California assembly plant, where it was installed into a spacecraft for an upcoming mission,” wrote author Norman Augustine.

Unbeknownst to anyone, the design of the oxygen tank’s thermal control system was critically flawed. A thermostat designed for only 28- volts controlled a 65-volt heating element.

Later this defect was exacerbated by a [preflight] ground procedure that inadvertently overheated the tank, destroying insulation that protected the internal wiring.This combination of errors was not detected until April 13th 1970, two days and eight hours after Apollo 13 had lifted-off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

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