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DIY Podcast: Failure Prevention - Past, Present and Future Audio/Video Clips

Failure Prevention Resources

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Failure Prevention: Past, Present and Future Audio/Video Clips

The Failure Prevention: Past, Present and Future videos show how some of the first rockets succeeded and failed and how NASA tests equipment to prevent failure today.

The NASA Expert Audio/Video clips feature NASA experts explaining how NASA works to prevent failure. They all have experience in preventing and analyzing failure.

  1. Click "Playlist" at the top of the video player to view and select from available videos.
  2. In the list below the video player, right click (use CTRL + click for Macs) to download the video or the audio.

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1940s Rocket
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Centaur Rocket Explosion (1962)
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[Dramatic music]
After nearly a year's delay posed by its liquid hydrogen fuel, the mighty Centaur is on its pad at Cape Canaveral for a maiden flight. It is to be boosted into space by an Atlas for a 15-minute flight -- a flight scheduled to study the performance of the temperamental hydrogen fuel. The Centaur is designed to put a payload of more than a ton on the moon, or a thousand pounds in the vicinity of Mars or Venus. The first few seconds of the shoot go without incident. The Centaur climbs to 30,000 feet. Then ... malfunction!
[Explosion]
The immediate cause of the explosion is not known, but if it happened in the Atlas booster it means a probable delay for the next U.S. orbital flight by astronaut Malcolm Carpenter. Long lens cameras capture pieces of the wrecked missile falling into the sea. Falling like a wounded bird. However, in the race for space, scientists find progress in every failure.
Atlas Explosion (1961)
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Spectacular disaster as an Atlas missile blows up on its pad.
[Explosion]
An advanced model of the famed Atlas, the intercontinental missile was being launched for the first time from an underground coffin launching pad when a malfunction blasted it to bits. Fiery pieces of the rocket fall back into the pad completely destroying the experimental two million dollar installation. That coupled with the cost of the Atlas itself makes the loss a staggering multimillion dollar chapter in our space story. Miraculously … no injuries.
Atlas Failure and Success (1961)
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In one of the last tests before a man is launched into space by the United States, an Atlas missile is poised on the launching pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida. With an astronaut capsule in its nose, the huge rocket quivers as the tremendous energy builds up and the countdown approaches zero. The Mercury capsule carries a breathing dummy so that scientists can make last minute studies of how a human might react. Now the critical moment approaches.
[Launch Sounds]
The Atlas soars aloft with majestic grace as its groundling creators tick off the long seconds that it takes to rise course. A shoot today will provide answers (they hope) to some of the vexing problems of safely orbiting a man. So far it's running true right -- on course. But many things can happen.
A malfunction! The capsule is separated and the safety officer takes over.
[Explosion]
The missile is destroyed but all attention is now focused on the Mercury capsule that was separated from the Atlas. The separation is a success. The capsule that might have been carrying a man floats back to Earth.
Scientists are elated over this phase of the shoot. They say a man would have survived without injury for the robot pilot continued to function normally. They foresee no delays in putting a man into space and then into orbit.
Orion Test Module Acoustic Test
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Orion Drop Test – Dec. 13, 2011
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Helicopter Skid Gear Drop Test
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J-2X Rocket Engine, 40-Second Test
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Flight Recovery Tests
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NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations
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SSME Hotfire
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Apollo 13
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OK, Houston, we've had a problem here.
This is Houston. Say again, please.
Ah, Houston, we've had a problem. We've had a MAIN B BUS UNDERVOLT.
Roger. MAIN B UNDERVOLT. OK, stand by, 13. We're looking at it.
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Page Last Updated: June 24th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Education