Advertisement

The Nation

Inadequate procedures and poor design were mainly responsible for the flash fire that caused minor damage to the Magellan Venus spacecraft, an investigation board reported. The fire occurred Oct. 17 in a checkout hangar at Kennedy Space Center in Florida when a technician inadvertently mated an electrical connector with the wrong jack, creating a short circuit that triggered a 2- to 3-inch tongue of flame from a test battery on the spacecraft. Damage was limited to the battery, electrical wiring and an insulation blanket. NASA estimated the damage at $87,000 and said the fire would have no impact on Magellan’s launch toward Venus from the space shuttle Atlantis next April.


Advertisement