Source: NASA Historical Reference Collection, NASA History Office, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC.
(Apollo Accident Report). Aviation Week and Space Technology. 6 February 1967, pp. 29-36; 13 February 1967, pp. 33-36; and 20 February 1967, pp. 22-23. Discusses the ways NASA was attempting to maintain its Apollo landing schedule despite the Apollo 204 accident. Also covers congressional monitoring of the accident investigation and the inquiry itself. Not a conclusive discussion, since the investigation had not yet ended as of 20 February, but it gives something of the flavor and immediacy of the situation in NASA and the country in the wake of the tragedy.
Bergaust, Erik. Murder on Pad 34. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1968. A highly-critical account of the investigation of the Apollo 204 accident in January 1967 that killed astronauts Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Edward White. Bergaust takes issue with NASA's design approach that allowed for the use of a pure oxygen atmosphere in the Apollo command module. It is largely a journalistic rehash of criticism of NASA coming from Congress and the media, with very little new commentary or analysis and no new factual information. Bergaust concludes that the human and fiscal sacrifices made in Project Apollo have been in vain, since the Soviet Union (seen as the reason for Apollo) may not be going to the Moon at all.
Biddle, Wayne. "Two Faces of Catastrophe." Air and Space/Smithsonian. 5 (August/September 1990): 46-49. Discusses the different ways in which NASA handled the Apollo 204 fire in 1967 and the Challenger disaster in 1986. Biddle concludes that the comparison shows NASA had become more fragile and lost direction following the Moon landing.
Boyes, W. Killed Twice Buried Once: A Story about the Catastrophic Apollo Fire. Rockville, MD: Chesapeake Bay Press, 1986. This "novelized" account of the Apollo 204 fire is, the author claims, "based on the actual events which surrounded" the disaster, but as it contains many fictionalized names and events, it must be consulted with extreme care and only in conjunction with "factual" discussions--or at least ones whose sources are attributed.
"The Capsule Fire Flares Up Again." Life. 17 September 1971, pp. 24-29. 8 B&W photos. Story of the lawsuit brought against North American by Betty Grissom and an engineer's story of the Apollo 204 disaster.
Gray, Mike. Angle of Attack: Harrison Storms and the Race to the Moon. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1992. This is a lively journalistic account of the career of Harrison Storms, president of the Aerospace Division of North American Aviation that built the Apollo capsule. Because of the Apollo 204 fire that killed three astronauts in January 1967, Storms and North American Aviation got sucked into a controversy over accountability and responsibility. In the aftermath Storms was removed from responsibility for the project. The most important aspect of this book is its discussion of the Apollo fire and responsibility for it from the perspective of industry. It lays the blame at NASA's feet and argues that Storms and North American were mere scapegoats. It, unfortunately, has no notes and the observations offered cannot be verified.
Kennan, Erlend A., and Harvey, Edmund H., Jr. Mission to the Moon: A Critical Examination of NASA and the Space Program. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1969. This book features a detailed examination of the facts of the Apollo 204 fire in January 1967 that killed three astronauts. It does not provide a balanced account of the lunar landing program or NASA. Instead it is filled with critical asides. For example, the authors conclude: "The real reasons for the [Apollo] tragedy--were a lack of perspective and flexibility within NASA management at all key levels; inept, competing, or nonexistent channels of communication throughout the organization's many facilities; lazy, sloppy, and unduly profit-motivated contractor performance, myopic congressional indulgence (often referred to as 'moon-doggling'), irresponsible public relations--to the point where NASA actually believed its own inflated propaganda; and finally, a remarkable aloofness from and disdain for the legitimate interests of the taxpaying American public." Unfortunately, the treatment is long on hyperbole and short on reasoned analysis; the New York Times reviewer said that the book "adds little that is new on any of the problems or possible solu- tions....But perhaps the book's sense of outrage is in itself an adequate reason for the book's existence."
"The Ten Desperate Minutes." Life. 21 April 1967, pp. 113-114. Riveting reconstruction of the events in the ten minutes following the outbreak of fire onboard Apollo 204. Based on eyewitness accounts by pad personnel.
United States House, Committee on Science and Aeronautics. Apollo and Apollo Applications: Staff Study for the Subcommittee on NASA Oversight of the Committee on Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives, Ninetieth Congress, Second Session. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1968. A brief analysis of the state of the Apollo program in the wake of the Apollo 204 fire followed by four appendices containing documents and abstracts supporting the conclusions of the staff study, which included the judgement: "It appears that NASA and the key industrial contractors are recovering momentum following the Apollo 204 accident and are utilizing the information derived effectively to improve the safety and efficiency of equipment and operations" but that a "number of difficult engineering problems remain to be solved...."
United States House, Committee on Science and Astronautics. Apollo Program Pace and Progress; Staff Study for the Subcommittee on NASA Oversight, Ninetieth Congress, First Session. Washington, DC: Govt. Print. Off., 1967. This thick committee print provides a "summary of the status, completed in December 1966, of the Apollo lunar landing program prior to the tragic" Apollo 204 fire. The introduction and program evaluation occupy only 13 pages, but they are followed by over 1,000 pages of correspondence and transcripts of staff conferences with industrial contractors and NASA center managers in Houston, at Kennedy and Marshall. A summary at the beginning announces it as "the finding of this study that the NASA- industry team is employing its resources effectively in solution of those technical problems which currently pace the program."
United States House, Committee on Science and Astronautics, Subcommittee on NASA Oversight. Apollo and Apollo Applications: Staff Study, Ninetieth Congress, Second Session. Washington, DC: Govt. Print. Off., 1968. This study includes a summary, conclusions, and a brief program analysis followed by correspondence and abstracts of staff conferences with NASA management and industry representatives. The conclusions outline problems and progress since the Apollo 204 fire.
United States House, Committee on Science and Astronautics, Subcommittee on NASA Oversight. Investigation into Apollo 204 Accident, Hearings, Ninetieth Congress, First Session. Washington, DC: Govt. Print. Off., 1967. This 3-volume committee print contains testimony, a summary of actions taken on the findings and determinations of the accident review board, the report of that board itself, and a report on the principal new features of the new (Block II) command and service module as compared with the one involved in the accident (Block I), together with a description of the testing planned to validate the changes made.
United States Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. Apollo Accident Hearings, Ninetieth Congress, First Session. Washington, DC: Govt. Print. Off., 1967. This voluminous, 7-part committee print publishes the statements of the individuals who testified before the committee plus 246 illustrations and 25 tables containing additional data. Parts 6 and 7 consist of NASA's report on its implementation of the Apollo 204 review board's recommendations and further information relating to that implementation. Fully indexed.
United States Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. Apollo 204 Accident: Report of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, United States Senate, with Additional Views. Washington, DC: Govt. Print. Off., 1968. This short committee print consists of a discussion of the Apollo 204 review board, conditions leading to the accident, the accident itself, NASA's response to the review board's findings, NASA's relations with spacecraft contractors, and the effects of the accident on the Apollo schedule. In its recommendations, the report agrees with the position of NASA Administrator James Webb that not all details of government-contractor relations should be placed in the public domain, but it insists that serious problems need to be brought to the committee's attention, as was not the case before the Apollo 204 accident.
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Updated October 22, 2004