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Why Apollo Had a Flammable Pure Oxygen Environment

13 Apr 2019, 16:03 UTC
Why Apollo Had a Flammable Pure Oxygen Environment
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Fire, as we know, need three things: a source of heat, fuel or something to burn, and oxygen. Apollo lunar missions had all three in spades. There was plenty of electricity running through the spacecraft, lots of material that could be fuel, and a 100 percent oxygen atmosphere under pressure. So why exactly did NASA design a spacecraft that was an explosion waiting to happen? (This is a question I get *a lot* so I hope this gives a full answer!)

Not long after President Kennedy famously challenged America to a manned lunar landing by the end of the 1960s, NASA started figuring out how it was going to complete this daring mission, and one of the first things it needed was a spacecraft. As it had done with the Mercury spacecraft, the space agency released a Call For Proposals to industry partners inviting them to bid on the contract to build that spacecraft. Of course, it wasn’t an open call. The RFP, which was sent out on July 28, 1961, included certain design constraints. The shape for Apollo, for example, had to be some kind of truncated cone like the Mercury spacecraft. As for the environment, NASA asked for ...

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