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NASA Response to Findings, Determinations, and Recommendations of the Apollo 204 Review Board

Excerpt from “Apollo 204 Accident: Report of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, United States Senate, Report No. 956,” January 30, 1968, p. 5. Source: NASA Historical Reference Collection, NASA History Office, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC.

In addition to the extensive system, subsystem, and component studies on the Apollo spacecraft made by the Apollo 204 Review Board, NASA undertook a detailed analysis of the entire Apollo program and its management. This included a comprehensive review of each deficiency noted by the Board and its supporting panels to identify and initiate corrective action in those areas noted. In addition to identifying and taking actions to improve crew safety, this review, because of its extraordinary depth and analysis, should result in substantial improvements to many other aspects of the Apollo program.

Many changes have been made in the Apollo program because of the accident and are discussed in parts 6, 7, and 8 of the hearings. The astronauts have had and will continue to have a direct hand in all planning and changes for the Apollo command module and no manned flights have been or will be attempted in the Apollo program until the astronauts, in the light of their newly acquired technical information, are completely satisfied with all aspects of the Apollo system.

Substantial changes in the management of the Apollo program have been made both in the agency and in the prime contractor’s effort.

Some of the more important procedure and hardware changes that have been initiated by NASA follow:


  1. All tests taking place in 100 percent pure oxygen environments are now defined as hazardous.
  2. Responsibility for test procedures at the Kennedy Space Center and the Manned Spacecraft Center has been redefined.
  3. An Office of Flight Safety has been established independent of the flight program office at both the headquarters and field centers to rview all aspects of design, manufacturing, test, and flight from a safety standpoint.
  4. Emergency-type training is now required for test support personnel and the launch pad is required to be equipped with appropriate fire fighting and rescue equipment.

Spacecraft and Facility Modifications

  1. All manned flights will be in the Block II spacecraft, the design of which already incorporates many of the changes recommended by the Apollo 204 Review Board.
  2. A significant change has been instituted in the approach to the selection and placement of materials inside the command module. This change, which severely restricts and controls the amount and location of combustible material in the command module, is more significant than any other improvement resulting from the accident.
  3. A new quick-opening hatch to be installed on all Block II spacecraft is being developed.
  4. Provision has been made in the spacecraft for a fire extinguishing capability using jellied water.
  5. An emergency oxygen supply system has been provided for the flight crew in the event they are separated from their suits.
  6. The launch facilities have been modified to accommodate the quick-opening hatch and expedite flight crew exit through the service structure in the event of fire.

One Hundred Percent Pure Oxygen Environment

NASA has defined all tests taking place in 100 percent pure oxygen environment as hazardous. While NASA has reconfirmed by detailed review that the inflight cabin atmosphere, outside the Earth’s atmosphere, should continue to be 100 percent oxygen at 5 p.s.i.a., it has modified the command module systems on the launch pad. Should full scale flammability tests indicate a need to change to an air atmosphere for ground operations, NASA will implement this capability. However, the dual gas cabin atmosphere, while reducing the fire hazard, creates other risks such as the risk of the astronauts getting the “bends” if their cabin pressure is reduced quickly.

NASA Status Report

NASA submitted to the committee on January 8, 1968, a report on the status of actions taken on the Apollo 204 Review Board Report as of December 28, 1967. This document is printed as part 8 of the committee’s hearings on the Apollo accident. This status report shows that NASA has made substantial progress in adopting and implementing the findings, determinations, and recommendations of the Apollo 204 Review Board and its task panel.



Last Updated
Jun 12, 2024