Science: Setback for Apollo

By contrast, the U.S. space program was not faring so well. After almost two months of intensive investigation into the oxygen-tank explosion during the aborted Apollo 13 moon flight, NASA's high-level review board confirmed that the accident was probably caused by an arcing short that ignited Teflon insulation on wiring in the tank. The fire in turn damaged the seal at the top of the tank and generated heat that expanded the oxygen. The resulting pressure caused the weakened area to burst. The board also detailed an extraordinary sequence of bungling uncovered by...

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